NEWS MEDIA UPDATE · FLORIDA · Prior Restraints · Feb. 6, 2007
Judge orders TV station not to air story on documents
Feb. 6, 2007 · An Orlando, Fla., television station is challenging a judge’s temporary injunction against broadcasting the contents of 80 boxes of documents formerly belonging to an embattled political consultant.
An attorney for WKMG-TV said the order issued Friday is an unconstitutional prior restraint on the press.
After listening to three hours of arguments today, Orange County Circuit Judge Rom Powell said the injunction will remain at least until Thursday afternoon, when he is scheduled to rule on the TV station’s motion to terminate the injunction.
The station obtained the contested documents last year from a man who purchased them for $10 at an auction, according to WKMG-TV reporter Tony Pipitone. The auction was held after the consultant, Doug Guetzloe, failed to pay rent for the public storage unit where the documents were being kept.
Guetzloe insists that the documents were auctioned off in error and that some contain medical records and correspondence with his attorney. In approving the temporary injunction, Powell agreed that Guetzloe’s “possible privacy rights in that information will have been irreparably lost” if the station is allowed to broadcast.
But in court filings, the TV station’s attorney, Jack Kirschenbaum, argued that “a public’s right to know trumps even an individual’s right to privacy when prohibiting publication of information would be a prior restraint,” according to The Orlando Sentinel.
(Guetzloe v. Post-Newsweek Stations Orlando, Inc., Media Counsel: Jack Kirschenbaum, GrayRobinson, P.A., Orlando, Fla.) — MA