James Holmes Trial Update: Jana Winter, Journalist, Who First Reported About Suspect's Notebook Could Face Jail Time (Video)
Apr 08, 2013 06:11 PM EDT
Fox News reporter Jana Winter is the woman who first reported about the notebook that suspect James Holmes allegedly sent to his psychiatrist before last July's massive shooting in an Aurora movie theater. She now could face jail time for not revealing how she obtained the notebook. She is scheduled to testify on Wednesday, CNN reported.
"My reputation as a journalist will be irreparably tarnished among my colleagues and perhaps more importantly my future sources," Winter wrote in a March affidavit. Winter joined Fox News in 2008.
Winter cited a source who said the notebook contained "drawings and illustrations of the massacre." The judge in the case had issued a so-called "gag order" barring officials from speaking to reporters about the case, news reports said. Holmes' trial is scheduled to begin in February 2014, and if convicted, he will face the death penalty.
Holmes has been charged with 166 counts of first-degree murder for allegedly opening fire inside a movie theater, killing 12 people and wounding dozens more at the premiere of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises."
Federal agents have said the 25-year-old former University of Colorado doctoral student planned the attack for months.
At the hearing last week, the Colorado judge said he was first reluctant to order Winter to testify, saying that another police detective needed to be questioned first. Winter is expected to return to court this coming Wednesday. Her attorneys' indicated that she will not reveal her sources, and could be jailed after the hearing.
Derigan Silver, who teaches media law at the University of Denver,argued that investigative journalism believes that other journalists should support Winter, as should everyone interested in the free press.
"If people want good important stories, we have to stand up for the reporters doing those stories," he said.
Winter and her attorneys have tried to fight the subpoena. The New York-based journalist made it clear in last month's affidavit that her credibility is at stake if she were to reveal her sources.
"I will be unable to function effectively in my profession and my career will be over," Winter wrote. "This is not an exaggeration - it is a provable certainty."