Judge rejects Arizona senator’s request for restraining order against investigative journalist
A judge dismissed Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers’ restraining order against a reporter Wednesday, saying that the investigative journalist’s conduct did not rise to the level of harassment.
“I don’t think there is a series of events directed at Sen. Rogers that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed even if she in fact was,” Judge Howard Grodman said after a hearing in Flagstaff Justice Court. “The strongest point is investigative reporting is a legitimate purpose. lt just is.”
A different judge approved the Republican lawmaker’s request for an injunction last month against reporter Camryn Sanchez, sparking an outcry from journalists and First Amendment advocates. The hearing was held without any notice given to Sanchez.
Christopher Hennessy, the attorney representing Sanchez, said in a statement that the newspaper was pleased with the ruling.
“We stand firmly behind Ms. Sanchez and all our reporters in the exercise of their rights under the First Amendment and we are pleased that the court recognized that this injunction was improper,” the statement said. “We look forward to continuing in our work reporting the news and are glad to put this issue behind us.”
Will Fischbach, the lawyer for Rogers, did not respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.
During the hearing, Fischbach had argued this was not a First Amendment case.
“Journalists go around knocking on doors asking questions, sure they do,” Fischbach said. “But this was an instance that Ms. Sanchez was told specifically not to have contact with Ms. Rogers at her desk.”