Fox News suit: Declaration of Denis King
This is a short motion that doesn't need to be uploaded, but it goes to how the broadcast was put together, the large area covered by the Fox News Denver bureau, the high profile cases like Kobe Bryant they already have responsibility for covering and the question of hardship of having the trial in Georgia:
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA ATLANTA DIVISION
JOHN RAMSEY, PATSY RAMSEY and BURKE RAMSEY, a minor by his next friends and natural parents, JOHN AND PATSY RAMSEY
FOX NEWS NETWORK, L.L.C., d/b/a Fox News Channel
CASE NO. 1:03 CV-3976 (TWT)
DECLARATION OF DENIS KING IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS MOTION TO TRANSFER VENUE
I DENIS KING declare as follows:
1. I am the Denver, Colorado Bureau Chief for Fox News Network, LLC (the "Fox News Channel" or "Defendant"), the defendant in this action. I have personal knowledge of the facts set forth in this Declaration, and if called as a witness, I could and would testify competently to such facts under oath. I submit this Declaration in support of the Defendant's motion, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. and 1404(a), for an order transferring this action in its entirety to the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.
2. I reside in Westminster, Colorado and work as the Bureau Chief for Fox News Channel's Denver bureau.
3. The Fox News Channel is the number one rated, 24 hour a day, 7 day a week national cable television news network. As the Denver Bureau Chief, I am responsible for the initial approval of all of the news reports generated by the Bureau and for overseeing all aspects of the Bureau's operation.
4. The Fox News Channel's Denver Bureau covers a wide geographic area, including the following ten states: Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. These states comprise over 936,000 square miles.
5. Despite the vast geographical expanse covered by the Fox News Channel's Denver Bureau, there are only eight employees in the Bureau. The eight employees are:
Alicia Acuna: On Air Correspondent
Damon Blick: Producer
Brian Boyd: Photographer/Editor
Kelly Burke: Producer
Michael Butler: Technician
Lloyd Gottschalk: Photographer/Editor
Denis King: Bureau Chief
Carol McKinley: On Air Correspondent
To my knowledge, all eight Fox News Channel employees in the Denver Bureau reside in Colorado.
6. I understand that plaintiff's John Ramsey, Patsy Ramsey and Burke Ramsey claim they have been defamed by a December 2002 Fox News Channel report marking the six year anniversary of the unsolved death of JonBenet Ramsey in her Boulder, Colorado home (the "News Report"), and have filed a defamation action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
7. I personally approved the initial idea for the News Report, and reviewed and approved written copy of drafts of News Reports while I was in Colorado.
8. Carol McKinley, a Fox News Channel reporter based in Colorado, researched, wrote and prepared the News Report while in Colorado.
9. Kelly Burke, a Fox News Channel employee based in Fox News Channel's Denver Bureau, produced the News Report while in Colorado.
10. Lloyd Gottschalk, a Fox News Channel employee based in Fox News Channels's Denver Bureau edited the News Report while in Colorado.
11. Damon Black, a Fox News Channel employee based in Fox News Channel's Denver Bureau, assisted with video for the News Report while in Colorado.
12. All of the production work, including putting the News Report into a format that could be cablecast nationally on the Fox News Channel, took place in Colorado. Once the News Report was ready to be cablecast, we played the taped portions of the News Report in Colorado while fiber optics allowed employees at Fox News Channel's New York headquarters to record the material and later cablecast it on the Fox News Channel.
13. The documents pertinent to the News Report and retained by Denver Bureau Fox News Channel employees are located in Colorado.
14. It would be disruptive and a burden for me professionally to travel from my home in Colorado to Georgia to appear for a deposition and/or potential trial of this matter. My postion as Bureau Chief requires me to be on call at all times in the event of breaking news. Even my scheduled vacations are flexible if a major story breaks. As a result, it is inconvenient for me professionally to devote several days to a potential trial out of state.
15. A potential trial of this action in Georgia would also work a substantial hardship on the employees of Fox News Channel's Denver Bureau.
Because of the size of the Denver Bureau, even a small story requires a significant number of our employees. Every story requires at least a correspondent, a producer and a photographer/editor. However, when a major story is unfolding in our geographic regiion, it is not uncommon for the entire Bureau to be involved. Just in the last few years, the entire Bureau has been called upon to cover major developing stories, including the Columbine school shootings and the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. The Columbine school shootings involved two months of intensive coverage spearheaded by the Denver Bureau, and the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping required our Bureau to have at least one person in Salt Lake City, Utah every day for five weeks, and often required the involvement of our entire Bureau. And more recently, during the week of February 2, 2004, all eight Denver Bureau employees were working on site covering the criminal proceedings against basketball player Kobe Bryant.
16. In the ensuing months, I anticipate that the Kobe Bryant criminal trial and proceedings will occupy a significant amount of the time of all the Denver Bureau employees. This case has a scheduled hearing or proceeding in each of the upcoming months leading to an eventual trial that will require the resources of our entire bureau. In additon, I can already anticiapte potential major developments in two other large stories that we are following. The individual accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart will face a determination of competency in the next several months, and may eventually be put on trial, which will require a significant time investment from the Denver Bureau. In addition, there is an upcoming preliminary hearing for the individual accused of kidnapping Dru Sjodin, the North Dakota student who has been missing since November. This case will require frequent attentiion and resources from the Denver Bureau as the search for Ms. Sjodin continues, and as a possible trial approaches.
17. In addition, because of the small size of the Denver Bureau and the large amount of material that needs to be covered, our eight employees often have to perform multiple jobs. For example, when I am out of the office, the two producers, Mr. Burke and Mr. Blick, often fill in as Bureau Chief. As a result requiring me to be in Georgia for a potential trial along with Mr. Burke and Mr. Blick would effectively leave the Bureau without a Bureau Chief overseeing its operations.
18. In this case, if five of the eight employees in the Fox News Channel's Denver Bureau are all required to attend a potential trial 1200 miles away in Georgia, Fox News Channel's ability to collect and disseminate the news for a substantial portion of the United States will undoubtedly be hampered. In addition to the several large stories we anticipate covering in the next year, there is the ever present possibility that a major news story in our region could develop requiring the Bureau's full resources. In short, because the Fox News Channel cannot easily reassign employees to different Bureaus, requiring such a large number of our Denver Bureau employees to appear for a period of several days for a potential trial in Georgia would cripple Fox News Channel's Denver Bureau and leave it vulnerable should a major story develop in any area of the United States over which the Bureau has responsibility.
I declare under the penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America and the State of Colorado that the foregoing is true and correct and that this Declaration was executed on February 13, 2004 at Denver, Colorado.
Fox would like this case tried in a court that is more friendly to Fox; we want Lin Wood and the Ramseys to have to travel and live out of hotel rooms and we want a Federal judge who lives in Colorado to hear about the incompetence of Colorado cops because a federal judge in Atlanta might not soft pedal any of the shortcomings of Colorado cops or the Colorado journalists.