Dallas Morning News to Pension Fund: We Weren't Trying to "Wrongfully Record" You, and Your Lawsuit Threats Are Silly
The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System has had a rough few months, what with the widespread public perception that they've installed a big, fancy Eye of Sauron downtown . Also, they're having to deal with a lot more reporters than usual, which no one enjoys. One of those reporters is The Dallas Morning News' Steve Thompson who, as you may recall, the pension fund would now very much like to sue, along with his paper, alleging that he "illegally recorded" an April 11 board meeting.
Photo by Brandon Thibodeaux
Thompson's explanation is much simpler: He says he attended the public part of the meeting, left when they broke for lunch, and accidentally left the recorder behind, balanced on the arm of a chair. When he realized he was short a recorder, he called the pension fund's spokeswoman immediately, told her what had happened, and asked her to retrieve it from the board room.
The pension fund didn't seem persuaded by that story. At the end of April, they asked District Judge Martin Lowy to rule on whether they'd be allowed to depose Thompson, with an eye toward suing him and his paper. In a delightfully bitchy response filed by the Morning News last week, the paper calls the pension fund's allegations of dirty doings "unfounded" and their arguments "legally improbable." They say that all Thompson's recorder picked up was a bunch of virtually unintelligible background conversation, several hours of it, which the pension funds lawyers are welcome to listen to any time.The paper also says that the whole lawsuit threat is little more than an attempt to "chill speech and news-gathering activities."
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