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DCNF Reporter Discusses Lawsuit Against Chicago Mayor Ahead Of Major Deadline

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Andrew Trunsky Political Reporter
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Daily Caller News Foundation reporter Thomas Catenacci discussed Thursday his pending discrimination case against Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, saying that he was happy with how it has played out so far.

Catenacci, appearing on “Fox & Friends,” outlined how U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee ordered Lightfoot’s office to file a declaration clarifying a policy stating that she would only grant interviews to journalists of color.

Attorneys for Lightfoot said during a hearing Monday they would provide a sworn declaration to clarify it.

Catenacci and Judicial Watch first brought the suit on May 27, just over a week after Lightfoot announced the racial policy via Twitter on May 19.

Catenacci attempted to secure an interview on May 20, 21 and 24, according to the lawsuit, and was met with repeated non-responses.

“What we saw on Monday … was a really encouraging sign,” Catenacci said. “Essentially, the judge ordered the mayor and the city to state on the record and present to the court its [clarified] policy. What that means is that the city will have to say, ‘Yes, for one day we did discriminate based on race.’ And then from that point forward we’ll see what they give the court.”

“From that point forward the trial can proceed and we can argue that when I requested an interview on that day that they said they were discriminating, I was, in fact, discriminated against,” Catenacci added.

“They seem to think they can get a day pass for the mayor for racial discrimination,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “This is a basic lawsuit about the First Amendment, about civil rights and about a mayor standing in the city hall door and telling some reporters they can get in on the basis of race.”

WATCH:

Judicial Watch sought an injunction last week asking the court to immediately end Lightfoot’s policy, but the mayor’s lawyers argued in Monday’s hearing that it was unnecessary, saying the policy is not currently in effect. The plaintiffs disagreed, arguing that the mayor has not provided any evidence of that.

“There is no evidence that this policy is not in effect,” an attorney for Judicial Watch said, adding that Lightfoot’s office “hasn’t provided any non-racial reason as to why the interview has not been granted.”

An attorney for Lightfoot’s office responded that “the plaintiff has no evidence this policy is in effect.”

Lawyers for Judicial Watch replied that “there have been no statements or sworn testimony that the stated policy was rescinded.”

“We look forward to Mayor Lightfoot’s filing on Friday,” Michael Bekesha, senior attorney at Judicial Watch, said in a statement. “The Court is requiring the Mayor to file a statement under oath about whether her racially discriminatory policy still applies to Catenacci’s and the DCNF’s interview request. More than two weeks later, we still haven’t seen any evidence that it doesn’t.”

Lightfoot’s policy has been widely condemned, including by journalists of color. (RELATED: DCNF Reporter Discusses Lawsuit Against Lori Lightfoot)

One Latino reporter at the Chicago Tribune who was set to interview Lightfoot backed out of the interview after the mayor refused to rescind her policy.

“I asked the mayor’s office to lift its condition on others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled,” Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt wrote on Twitter. “Politicians don’t get to choose who covers them.”

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