On Behalf of the First Amendment
We’re still waiting for Judge Brook Hedge’s ruling on the defense’s proposed gag order motion.
They proposed that none of the attorneys involved be allowed to talk to the media as the case winds its way to the October 2011 trial date.
The plaintiffs weighed in with their response last week and another filing related to this hit the DC Superior Courts clerk’s office just yesterday.
In the works for several weeks, a number of DC media outlets have joined in opposition to the gag order. Our thanks to them for signing on to an effort to protect press freedom.
We hope to welcome additional outlets as well.
“WhoMurderedRobertWone.com, The Washingtonian, and Allbritton Communications Company on behalf of WJLA-TV, NewsChannel 8 and TBD.com (“the Media Interveners”), by counsel and pursuant to D.C. Sup. Ct. Rule 24(b), hereby move this court for permission to intervene in the above-captioned matter for the narrow and limited purpose of opposing Defendants’ Motion to Enjoin Legal Counsel From Making Extrajudicial Statements Regarding Litigation (the “Motion”) and the Motion’s Proposed Order (the “Gag Order”), and in support thereof states the following…”
1. This case and its related, but concluded, criminal matter have generated substantial public interest in the last four years and have, consequently, engendered extensive local and regional media coverage. See, e.g., Defendants’ Motion at ¶ 1.
2. Defendants filed their Motion and Gag Order on October 8, 2010, seeking to prevent all counsel in this matter, known and unknown, from speaking to the media or “making any other extrajudicial public statement concerning this litigation.”
3. Media Interveners are members of the local and regional media who have a First Amendment right to gather news. See, e.g., CBS, Inc. v. Young, 522 F.2d 234, 238 (6th Cir. 1975).
4. The Gag Order, if granted, would constitute a prior restraint on speech that would strip Media Interveners’ First Amendment rights by barring them from speaking with either party’s counsel to gather information about the case.
5. To safeguard their constitutionally protected rights to gather and report on news, which would be obliterated if the Gag Order is entered, Media Interveners respectfully move this Court for permission to intervene under Rule 24(b) so they can oppose the Gag Order’s overbroad and unconstitutional prior restraint of speech.
6. Media Interveners’ limited participation in this case as described herein would neither prejudice any party nor delay the proceedings.
7. In support of this Motion to Intervene, Media Interveners have attached hereto an accompanying Memorandum of Points and Authorities and adopts it as if fully set forth herein. WHEREFORE, Media Interveners respectfully request an Order granting them permission to intervene for the limited purpose of protecting their First Amendment rights by opposing Defendants’ Motion and Gag Order.”
The entire filing follows. Our thanks to the legal team for their interest and dedication.
Craig, Doug, Michael, David