Radio & Television News Association

Monday, February 05, 2007

Judge Stops TV Station From Broadcasting

Judge stops TV station from broadcasting story about documents
Associated Press

Sunday, February 4, 2007

ORLANDO — A judge has barred a television station
from broadcasting news reports about what it found
in 80 boxes of documents that belonged to a
political consultant at the center of an election
law scandal.

WKMG-TV cannot report about the boxes’ contents
until the courts decide whether the station properly
obtained them, Orange Circuit Judge Rom Powell
ruled Friday. He said the broadcasts, scheduled to
begin Monday, would destroy any privacy rights
consultant Doug Guetzloe might have.

The station says it received the documents from
a man who bought them for $10 at auction after
Guetzloe failed to pay his rent at a self-storage
unit where they had been kept.

Henry Maldonado, WKMG’s vice president and general
manager, said the station’s attorneys expect to have
Powell’s order lifted in time to air the reports as

“I’m confident we’ll prevail and I’m confident the
First Amendment will prevail,” Maldonado said.

Guetzloe and his attorney Fred O’Neal maintain the
documents are still legally Guetzloe’s and that they
were auctioned in error. Some of the documents are
medical records and protected correspondence with
attorneys, they argued.

“I was optimistic, but this was a pleasant surprise,”
Guetzloe said of the ruling. He faces misdemeanor
charges for allegedly violating campaign disclosure
laws relating to an attack ad on a suburban candidate for

Guetzloe, who hosts a local radio show billed as
“The Voice of the People,” has also been criticized
because the Orlando Magic paid him $200,000 not to
oppose plans for their planned new arena. Also, a Kissimmee
resort gave him $87,000 when it was pursuing public money
to expand a convention center, and the local expressway
authority paid him $107,500 to evaluate opposition
to toll increases despite his heavy criticism of the agency.

Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation
in Tallahassee, said court rulings barring news organizations
from publishing or broadcasting are rare.

“Generally speaking, government cannot prohibit publication
of information that’s legally obtained,” she said.