COLORADO, USA — What began this week as a pair of emails sent as part of a reporter’s due diligence has turned into a fight over the fundamental First Amendment right of press freedom.
On Tuesday, The Denver Gazette planned to run a story I wrote about the criminal case against one police officer charged in connection with Elijah McClain’s death in 2019. The story is based on the officer's request to a judge in Adams County to review the charges for probable cause, a motion that is suppressed from public access.
But on Monday, Judge Priscilla Loew issued an order to stop us from publishing the story. Our attorney, Steve Zansberg, filed a motion asking the judge to vacate that order, which he says is plainly unconstitutional "prior restraint."
After a further review of the constitutional issues at stake, Loew agreed with Zansberg's arguments in a new order late Thursday, concluding that the state's "interest in protecting grand jury secrecy in this case, where the grand jury has completed its deliberations, does not outweigh The Denver Gazette's First Amendment right to publish truthful and lawfully-attained information."
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