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In her four-page decision in Motion to Quash Subpoena Duces Tecum on behalf of The Wall St. Journal v. Sheldon Adelson (Matter No. 100270/13), Justice Mills found that the WSJ was protected by Article 1, Sec. 8 of the New York Constitution as well as the state's shield law [N.Y. Civil Rights Law sec. 79-h]. Adelson "failed to overcome the qualified privilege for non-confidential newsgathering material," Justice Mills wrote, in dismissing the subpoena.
Under the state's shield law that protects a journalist from having to disclose confidential sources and information, a party seeking such material must satisfy a three-pronged burden that the information is: 1)highly relevant, 2)vital to the party's legal claim, and 3)unavailable through any other reasonable means. Adelson contended his Florida defamation complaint against Jacobs that alleges Jacobs accused him of condoning prostitution, necessitated obtaining the WSJ notes and communications over a three-year period involving Jacobs and O'Keefe, who wrote an article concerning the prostitution claim against Adelson. In a separate Nevada action, Jacobs has brought an employment case against Adelson.
Justice Mills wrote that Adelson "has not shown why he is entitled to the material sought." The Las Vegas mogul's streak of bad luck, which included tossing away millions of dollars in campaign contributions to support failed GOP candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, apparently has not run its course.
No word yet on whether Adelson plans to appeal Justice Mills' ruling. Tip of the hat to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (www.rcfp.org) Web site for reporting on this case.