Aurora theater shooting judge unswayed by reporter’s ‘electric chainsaw’ affidavit

Greg Campbell | Contributor

The judge in the Aurora theater shooting case was unswayed by Fox News reporter Jana Winter’s passionate affidavit arguing against a subpoena requiring her to testify about her sources.

Winter was writing in response to a request to postpone a hearing about the subpoena, but the judge dismissed as gratuitous and “improperly advanced” her many reasons her involvement in the case presented a hardship to her.

Among them are that her sources on other stories now refuse to talk to her and that she fears for her life. (Related: Delays in Aurora theater case worse than ‘being chased with an electric chain saw’ for reporter)

As reported earlier by The Daily Caller News Foundation, Winter said harassing phone calls and fears for her safety have made her more frightened than times when she said she was “chased with an electric chainsaw” and held at gunpoint.

Winter is under subpoena to testify about who provided information about a notebook Holmes mailed to his doctor that reportedly containing information related to the July 20 theater shooting that left 12 dead and 58 injured.

Winter sought to have to subpoena quashed under the Colorado Shield Law, which generally protects reporters from having to reveal their sources. She said she would refuse to “burn” them if forced to testify. She could potentially face six months in jail for contempt of court.

Judge Carlos Samour took exception to Winter taking the occasion of a delay in her hearing to pester the court with what he saw as unnecessary information.

“When the August 19 hearing was postponed until September 30, the only question for the court was whether Winter would consent to return on September 30 rather than August 19 and having her subpoena continued on the record,” Samour wrote. “A simple ‘no’ would have sufficed.”

He said the request was “not an invitation to file an additional brief on the merits of her motion,” he wrote. “This appears to have been an improper attempt at getting two bites at the proverbial apple.”

In a footnote, he also singled out her complaint that her lawyers weren’t “invited” to attend a late June hearing at which the postponement was discussed.

“The Court is not in the habit of issuing ‘invitations’ to judicial proceedings to nonparties,” Samour wrote.

Now, Winter — who lives in New York — must come to Colorado on Aug. 19 just to be told to return again on Sept. 30. Ironically, defendant James Holmes, who is in prison awaiting trial and undergoing a mental health evaluation, doesn’t have to appear at the hearing.

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