Madison's WISC won a round in court yesterday over some raw video.
A judge ruled that the station does not have to give prosecutors unaired footage of its interview with the victim of an alleged rape.
District Attorney Ismael Ozanne sought a subpoena to force the station to turn over the video, saying it would help him decide whether to file charges for the incident at the Cinco de Mayo restaurant on Aug. 3.
In late August, Cross Plains police recommended first-degree sexual assault charges against a 23-year-old man who has since fled the area.
WISC reporter Andy Choi interviewed the 42-year-old woman, who described being given a margarita to drink until her food was ready. In the Nov. 2 story she said she felt “cloudy in the head” and was taken to a bed in a back room where she was raped by several men.
The restaurant has since closed.
Ozanne contended unaired footage from the interview, which he had not seen, might contain statements critical to making a charging decision, such as some that are potentially inconsistent with what she told police.
But in her decision, Circuit Judge Rebecca St. John wrote Ozanne had not met his burden under the state’s shield law for journalists to compel disclosure of information from a journalist.
The law requires those seeking to subpoena information from a journalist must establish by clear and convincing evidence that the information is relevant and necessary to an investigation, that it’s not available from any other source and that there is an overriding public interest in its disclosure.
Ozanne said he will meet with the victim “and go from there.”