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Every year, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) convenes a panel of journalists, judges, and lawyers to discuss a hypothetical case involving free speech, the freedom of the press, and citizens’ right to a fair trial.

In October, 2018 the program explored a hypothetical case in which an incumbent Governor who’s running for reelection, is going through a contentious divorce and custody battle. His soon-to-be-ex wife asks her attorneys to leak documents to the press about a domestic violence report filed against the governor six years earlier, as well as financial documents about a real estate partnership he has a substantial interest in. Ultimately, the documents are leaked to a journalist by an associate of the firm employed by the Governor’s wife.

During the program the panelists discussed the interplay of First Amendment rights to attend and report on trials, protection of the press and its sources, and the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.

Rex Smith, Editor, Times Union, and Albert Rosenblatt, former Associate Judge, NYS Court of Appeals moderated the discussion. Journalist participants included Andrea Grymes, WCBS-TV; Emily Saul, NY Post; Beth Lobel, Senior VP, NBCUniversal News Group; N.J. Burkett, WABC-TV;and Lawrence Neumeister, Associated Press. Speaking on behalf of lawyers and judges were Brian Barrett, Assistant General Counsel, AP; Frank Wohl, attorney; Margaret Donohoe, attorney;  Janis Echenberg, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of NY; Judge Leslie Stein, NYS Court of Appeals; and Judge Denise Cote, U.S. District Court, Southern District of NY.

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