Shield Law Prevents Further Reporter Testimony In the Donald Trump Baja Cases

July 28, 2011

Unpublished matter stays that way.

San Diego Union Tribune.jpgA San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper reporter recently testified in a deposition in The Trump Organization ‘Baja Project’ Cases about the material published in a newspaper article she wrote in 2006 following a telephone interview of Donald Trump and his son. The plaintiffs sought her testimony about some of the statements attributed to Trump in the article.

James-Manning.jpgScottTalkov3.jpgWhen lawyers attempted to ask about unpublished matters that did not specifically appear in the newspaper article, the reporter’s and newspaper’s lawyers, Jim Manning and Scott Talkov of Reid & Hellyer in Riverside, objected that such questions violated California’s Shield Law (Cal. Const. article 1 § 2(b); Cal. Evidence Code § 1070) and instructed the reporter not to answer.

Trump’s lawyers filed a motion to compel the reporter’s testimony arguing that the questions “were grounded in published information.” Today, the court denied the motion, ruling that the Shield Law applied, as Manning asserted.

However, the matter may not be over.  Should the Trump cases go to trial in California, the reporter may face a subpoena to testify therein and the battle may be renewed.

The case is entitled “The Trump Organization ‘Baja Project’ Cases," Los Angeles County Superior Court Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding No. 4642.

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