Court lifts gag order prompted by “Inside Edition” story
ARKANSAS — A gag order issued in a kidnapping case was lifted less than 24 hours after it was issued in late October, clearing the way for trial participants to talk to the news media. The order was issued after a television newsmagazine made plans to interview the alleged kidnappers and others involved in the case.
At the request of the prosecutor in a case concerning the kidnapping of 20-year-old Gina Hambuchen, Conway Chancellor Andre McNeil issued a gag order at 4 p.m. on Oct. 22 but revoked it at the defense attorney’s request at 2 p.m. on Oct. 23, just before camera crews from “Inside Edition” came to town. Another defense attorney had requested a gag order when charges were filed in late September, but that request was later rescinded before the court acted on it.
Richard Gold, an “Inside Edition” producer, said he and reporter Katrina Daniel had been in contact with defense attorneys Mark Cambiano and Kenneth Fuchs, Hambuchen’s father, prosecutor H.G. Foster, and all four people charged in the Sept. 25 kidnapping a week prior to the issuing of the gag order.
“No one mentioned this (gag order) to me when I got permission to talk to those involved,” Gold said. “Everyone knew we were coming. All parties involved wanted to talk to us.” He said the crew shot the segment in Conway on Oct. 26 and 27.
Cambiano said he had talked to “Inside Edition” and was against a gag order because he felt the defendants should be able to tell their story.
Cambiano alleged Foster and Chancellor McNeil discussed a gag order after learning of the imminent arrival of “Inside Edition” on Oct 22. He added that when he questioned Foster about it in court the next day, he declined to support the gag publicly and McNeil lifted it.
Foster was unavailable for comment.
The television segment was aired Nov. 1 after a week of promotion.
Keith and Amanda Myers of Russellville, James Scott Rush, of Russellville, and Charles E. Zachary, Jr., of Dover, are charged in connection with the kidnapping of Gina Hambuchen. The case is scheduled for trial in Chancery Court, 20th Judicial Circuit of Arkansas in Conway in early April.
(State of Arkansas v. Myers)