Television reporter files libel suit, claiming he was blamed for agents’ deaths
TEXAS — A Waco television reporter filed a libel suit in state court in Waco in late February against two journalists alleged to have blamed the reporter for the death of four federal agents in the February 1993 raid on the Branch Davidians, the Associated Press reported.
Television reporter John McLemore’s complaint alleges that in March 1993 Kathy Fair, a reporter for the Houston Chronicle, “stated or otherwise inferred” that a Waco TV reporter had intentionally alerted Branch Davidians of the coming raid, the AP reported.
McLemore, of KWTX-TV, did not charge that Fair explicitly named him as the person who tipped off the religious group, but he claimed that her comments nevertheless identified him as the responsible party.
McLemore alleged that he was the only TV reporter present when agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided the Davidians’ compound, the AP reported.
McLemore asserted that Valeri Williams of WFAA-TV in Dallas repeated and elaborated on Fair’s comments, the AP reported.
In August 1993 Jim Peeler, a cameraman for KWTX-TV, acknowledged that he had a conversation with a contract postal employee who may have inadvertently warned the Branch Davidians of the impending raid, the Dallas Morning News reported.
(McLemore v. Fair; Media Counsel (defense): Bill Ogden, Houston)