Law in Popular Culture
Lawyer tried to get TV station to cover his personal movie in exchange for interview, report alleges
An Alabama lawyer has withdrawn from a Huntsville, Alabama, murder case after a local TV station alleged that he offered an interview about the case in exchange for coverage of his personal movie.
The lawyer is Richard Jensen, who said in his withdrawal motion that he was seeking to exit the case because his “personal animus toward the local ‘fake news’ media has spilled over into this case,” report AL.com and WAAY-TV in stories here and here.
The motion said Jensen “doesn’t want his recent personal interactions—and the resulting fake controversy—with the ‘gotcha media’ to negatively impact” the police officer’s case.
Jensen had been appointed to represent the officer, 28-year-old David Michael McCoy, who was charged with capital murder in the Jan. 7 shooting death of Courtney Spraggins.
WAAY-TV didn’t record its initial conversation with Jensen, but it did record the reporter’s return call to him, according to the station’s earlier report, which was covered by AL.com.
The reporter, Brittany Harry, told Jensen that she was sorry for the delay, but she was talking to the news director about his request. This conversation followed:
Jensen: “That was a delay? Oh, OK.”
WAAY-TV reporter: “For the Jan. 21 movie premiere.”
WAAY-TV reporter: “We are not comfortable doing that. If you want to go ahead and send us the press release for the movie premiere, maybe we can make it out, but we are just not interested in doing that in exchange for an interview. So that’s the situation there. We would still like to talk to you about the case, kind of about what we discussed earlier, if that is something you would be up for.”
Jensen replied that he is going to decline comment at this time.
Jensen filed a motion with his then-co-counsel to place a gag order on the case hours after the station refused his request, according to previous reports by WAAY-TV and AL.com.
The request for a gag order said the media “has a terrible record of printing matters inaccurately, thus inflaming” potential jurors. The request sought a ban on comments by anyone involved in the case.
Jensen’s movie is called No Man’s Law. He wrote, directed and starred in the movie, said to be about an ex-border patrol agent who rescues a migrant girl.
“What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong, or have we all forgotten that?” he said while in character in the movie trailer.
Jensen did not immediately respond to the ABA Journal’s voicemail and email requests for comment.