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Jana Winter is a reporter for Fox News Channel. She is best known for being first to report that James Holmes had sent a notebook to his University of Colorado psychiatrist Lynn Fenton with details about his premeditated plan to kill people before he allegedly did so.
She joined Fox News in 2008. Previously she had been a reporter from 2006 to 2008 for the New York Post.
She grew up in New Jersey and attended Montclair High School, obtained an undergraduate degree from Emory University in 2002, and a masters in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2006.
Among the stories Winter has reported on is the 2012 Aurora shooting. She was first to report, on July 25, 2012, that shooter James Holmes had sent a notebook to his psychiatrist with details about his planning killings. This caused Holmes' attorney, citing a gag order on law enforcement personnel on the case, to try to order her to reveal her sources, despite the existence of a shield law in Colorado.
The possibility that Winter might be subpoenaed in the case first arose in December 2012, when Holmes' attorneys complained that the details about the notebook must have been leaked, and demanded sanctions against whoever leaked the information. The prosecutors predicted that the defense's attempt to subpoena Winter would add extra delays to the case.
Fox responded to a subpoena issued by Holmes' attorneys by the end of January 2013, stating that Winter would fight any attempts to reveal her sources. Although the story was subject to ongoing press stories by the Associated Press and other news organizations, widespread press attention to the story did not begin until early April 2013, causing some commentators, starting with Fox itself, to suggest the lack of press coverage may be due to Winter's employ by Fox and that the rest of the news media could be biased against it.
At a hearing on April 1, 2013, a Colorado judge said he was reluctant to order Winter to testify and said another police detective needed to be questioned first. He ordered Winter to return to court on April 10. On April 5, 2013, the National Press Club issued a statement asking the judge to abandon attempts to get Winter to reveal her sources. On April 8, 2013, the judge announced he was deferring any ruling on the issue, as he has not decided yet whether the notebook (the only strand upon which Winter's testimony could be sought by the defense) will be admissible at trial.
On Friday, January 31, 2014, the Gannett website colorodoan.com, in an online news release, stated that: "Lawyers for the man accused of killing 12 people at a Colorado movie theater said Friday they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to require a Fox News reporter to reveal the confidential sources she used in a story about defendant James Holmes. The defense wants reporter Jana Winter to identify the law enforcement officials who told her that Holmes sent a notebook containing violent images to his psychiatrist before the 2012 attack. Holmes’ lawyers say whoever spoke to Winter violated a gag order and should be punished. They also say that officers might have lied when they denied under oath being Winter’s sources, undermining their credibility as potential trial witnesses. New York state’s top court ruled in December that Winter did not have to testify in Colorado because she is protected by her home state’s shield law, which says reporters do not have to identify confidential sources. A Colorado court issued a subpoena for Winter’s testimony, but because she is based in New York, that state’s courts would have to enforce it. Winter has said she would not identify the sources, even though the Colorado court could sentence her to jail for contempt of court for refusing. Winter’s attorney, Dori Hanswirth, didn’t immediately return a call. Hanswirth previously expressed doubt that the Supreme Court would intervene."