"New York's top court today spared FoxNews.com reporter Jana Winter from jail for refusing to reveal confidential sources for a bombshell story following the Aurora movie massacre.
In a 4-3 ruling based on New York's shield law, the state Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's decision that could have resulted in Winter being forced to appear in the Colorado murder trial of James Holmes.
"... an order from a New York court directing a reporter to appear in another state where, as here, there is a substantial likelihood that she will be compelled to identify sources who have been promised confidentiality would offend our strong public policy," the decision, handed down Tuesday, read.
The ruling spares Winter from appearing before Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour Jr. on Jan. 3, where she would have been ordered to reveal who told her about a chilling notebook gunman James Holmes sent to his psychiatrist before the shooting in July 2012. Winter's exclusive story on July 25, 2012, was picked up by news outlets around the world. Winter had steadfastly vowed that she would go to jail rather than reveal her sources for the story.
"Today's ruling is a major win for all journalists," said Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. "The protection of Jana Winter's confidential sources was necessary for the survival of journalism and democracy as a whole. We are very grateful that the highest court in New York State agreed with our position."
Winter's lead attorney, Dori Ann Hanswirth, said the veteran journalist was finally freed from the specter of jail, which had hung over her head for more than a year. She said journalists must be able to afford their sources protection if they are to serve the public interest......"