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California Briefing / ORANGE COUNTY

Register can't cover own trial

September 27, 2008|From the Associated Press

A judge has barred the Orange County Register from covering testimony in a $100-million lawsuit filed against it by newspaper deliverers.

The ruling, which is being appealed, was quickly denounced by some of the nation's most prominent legal scholars as an unconstitutional infringement on free expression.

Orange County Superior Court Judge David C. Velasquez issued the order after attorneys representing about 6,000 newspaper carriers who accuse the paper of labor violations complained that the Register's reporting was biased and could influence a jury in its favor.

The class-action lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial Monday. The newspaper, meanwhile, has appealed the gag order and is awaiting a ruling from a state appeals court.

Joining the Register in its appeal are more than two dozen news organizations, publishers and 1st Amendment rights groups, including The Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Reuters, CNN and the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

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