NEXT DEVELOPMENT:
July 17 in Tampa
Opening Statements, Jane Akre Takes The Stand for the Plaintiffs

OPENING STATEMENTS, TESTIMONY STARTS MONDAY
Report Archive:

Ž July 8, 2000:
Potential Landmine Could
Derail Entire Case

Ž June 30, 2000:
Judge Steinberg Ready To
Get Case Back On Track

Ž June 26, 2000:
Another Judge Says 'No' to
Hearing Wilson/Akre v Fox
Case

Ž June 21, 2000:
Still No Judge To Hear Fox/BGH Case While Fox Dishes More Distortion To
WTVT Tampa Viewers

Ž June 16, 2000:
Trial Date Pushed Back Again; New Judge To Be Selected

Ž June 8, 2000:
Fox  Manager Who Fired Akre and Wilson In Tampa Gets Big Promotion 
David Boylan Flies Into The Sunset to Manage KTTV, Los Angeles

Ž June 6, 2000:
Fox Trial Will Start Sooner Than Expected
It will proceed in the heat of the summer, probably in July

Ž May 25, 2000:
Fox Trial Will Not Start June 12 as Scheduled

Ž May 18, 2000:
Fox Still Stalls on Testimony of Its president Mitchell Stern
Pre-trial hearing is otherwise uneventful

Ž May 8, 2000:
Ralph Nader Testifies About Broadcasters' Public Interest Requirement
Presidential candidate gives testimony at pre-trial depo 

Ž May 5, 2000:
Court-ordered Mediation Is Brief and Unsuccessful
Trial set to begin June 12

Ž April 28,2000:
Fox Challenges rBGH Experts At Depositions

Fox lawyers laying ground-
work to tell jurors experts are cancer scaremongers?

Ž April 26,2000:
Walter Cronkite Testifies on Behalf of Akre & Wilson
Fox lawyers lodge objections

Ž October 19:
Fox Lawyers Insist On Secrecy At Deposition
French TV Ejected

Ž October 18:
FDA Wants Comments on G-M Foods
Public Meetings Start in November

Ž October 13:
Judge Rules: Trial Will Proceed: Defense loses third effort to have case dismissed

Ž September 24:
MSNBC: Gene-modified foods might get labels:
Industry weighs voluntary steps, U.S. studies options as well

Ž September 20:
Trial Still Set to Start Soon: Busy Docket Delays foxBGHsuit

Ž August 4:
MSNBC: Mutable Feast:
Will the fight over gene-altered food products leapfrog across the Atlantic?

Ž June 30:
Consumers International:
UN Health Group Shuns BGH

Ž June 1:
New York Times:
Farmers’ Right To Sue Grows - Food Warning Muzzle Likely

Ž May 10:
Corporate Crime Reporter:
Monsanto Officials Join Leading Consumer, Environmental Groups

Ž May 3:
Fox Deceives Viewers in Primetime, Too
Net Admits Staging after INSIDE EDITION Report

Ž April 30:
Democracy Group Award to Akre/Wilson
Fired Reporters Cited for "Courage in Journalism"

Ž April 29:
New Trial Date is October 11
Fox Piles On Big-Name Lawyers

Ž April 17:
Clinton Lawyer Joins Fox Legal Team
David Kendall Involvement Confirmed in Letter to Monsanto

Ž April 16:
Fox Pleads for Another Delay
Later Trial Date to be Set April 29th

Ž April 1:
Judge Says BGH Case Will Go To Trial
Opening Gavel Falls May 10th

Ž February 16:
PENTHOUSE Exposes BGH, Fox Coverup:
First-rate story of BGH situation and lawsuit against Fox TV (rated G -- no nudity, just the story)

Ž January 25:
ENS Summary of BGH Developments

Ž January 14:
How Fox Wanted to Slant News of Canadian Concerns
Canadian BGH Concerns Were Big Issue In Firing of Fox Reporters

Ž January 14:
Canada Says NO to BGH!
Read the CBC Story or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

Ž January 14:
Health Canada Rejects Bovine Growth Hormone in Canada
Government News Release

Ž December 16:
Akre & Wilson Win Courage Award
For Work On Story Which Cost Them Their Jobs

Ž December 15:
ABC NEWS Catches Up on BGH
Read the ABC Story or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

Ž November 7:
FOX Legal (8/28) Answers
to Reporters' Complaint Now Available

Ž November 1:
Monsanto and Fox: Partners in Censorship
PR Watch - Showcase Article

Ž October 30:
Canadians Probe Coverup Claim
Read CBC Story or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

Ž October 24:
Reporters Get Top SPJ Ethics Award

Ž October 22:
BGH Issue Explodes in Canada:
Read CBC Story or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

Ž October 7:
SECRET Canadian Study Leaked...
...BGH safety questions unanswered?

Ž Sept 13:
Akre-Wilson Depos Start

Ž Sept 10:
TIMES/St. Petersburg
SP Times covers NutraSweet flap

Ž Sept 10:
Our Story: Fox Still Protecting Monsanto?

Ž Sept 8:
Fox Pulls Plug on NutraSweet Foe

Ž Sept 1:
Reporters Respond To Defense

Ž READ story FOX-TV refused to air...
or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

Ž July 14:
Judge refuses to dismiss
all but one count of reporters' suit

Ž July 5:
OBSERVER/London
Digger Still Plays Dirty

Ž July 1:
Depositions Continue, Trial Date Set

Ž June 7:
TIMES/St. Petersburg
Akre/Wilson Preparing FCC Complaint

Ž May 26:
Judge rejects Defense motion
for Protective Order

Ž May 25:
WEEKLY PLANET/Tampa:
Grazing A Stink - - -Don't Have a Cow

Ž May 23:
NEW YORK TIMES:
(Silenced) Reporters... Post Web Site

Ž May 21:
Wilson/Akre demand on-air correction

Ž April 29:
FOX-TV asks court:
Dismiss case and Delay depositions

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 WITH JURY NOW SEATED, TRIAL 
  WILL BEGIN MONDAY MORNING 
                                                
By STEVE WILSON
        TAMPA (July 12, 2000)—It was January 1999 at the end of a key deposition when Gary Roberts, a lawyer employed by the Fox media empire, sneered at the two journalists who had filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the broadcaster.  With as much disdain as he could muster, he shot the plaintiffs a cold stare and told them in no uncertain terms, “Your case is never going to get to trial.”
        Wednesday, he sat with a phalanx of other attorneys he has worked with for more than two years in repeated, unsuccessful attempts to derail the case on legal technicalities and stubborn refusal to seriously discuss any settlement.  Silent, if not stunned by what they were seeing, they all watched as a Florida state court judge administered an oath to the five-man, three-woman jury that will hear the fired journalists' claims in a landmark trial starting next Monday.
        The day began with a hearing before trial court Judge Ralph Steinberg who surprised the parties again by saying there was no need for him to rule on a crucial point he raised at a hearing last week.

        The judge decided since there was no formal motion pending, it would be unwise for him to rule at this on whether the plaintiffs’ claim technically satisfied the requirements of the law. 

        In another key ruling, the judge denied a Fox motion that Florida law requires whistleblower plaintiffs suing private companies to first prove that the company’s conduct at the heart of the dispute was indeed a legal violation and not merely a suspected violation.
        In agreeing with the plaintiffs, the judge reasoned that the whole purpose of the law was to protect employees who have a good faith belief that what they are being asked to do violates a law.  Otherwise, he said, before any employee could ever be protected, the company would have to be prosecuted and found guilty of doing what the employee was trying to stop.
       
Just before lunch, the judge summoned 35 potential jurors and began the selection process which continued through the afternoon.  By the end of the day, the parties had agreed on the eight who will sit in judgment of the claim. 
        Although the jury is a diverse group, four are working or have experience in fields related to health.  One is a pharmacist, another is a retired healthcare assistant, one works for the state healthcare department, and another manages a health and fitness center at an insurance company.
       
Two jurors work in the construction industry, one as a construction foreman, the other as a manager of projects throughout Florida.  One juror is a bail bond bondsman and the eighth works for a financial services company that works with credit unions.
        Court is set to re-convene Monday morning at 8:30 when Jane Akre’s attorney will make his opening statement to the jury, followed by plaintiff Steve Wilson who continues to represent himself, followed by the opening statement of Fox defense attorney William McDaniels.
       
Both sides have an hour-and-a-half for their openings before plaintiff Jane Akre becomes the first witness to takes the stand.

 

Stories Posted Recently:

POTENTIAL LANDMINE COULD DERAIL CASE

STEINBERG TO GET CASE BACK ON TRACK

STRIKE 2 ON SEARCH FOR JUDGE TO TAKE CASE

FOX AIRS ANOTHER DISTORTED STORY ON rBGH

TRIAL DELAYED; NEW JUDGE TO BE CHOSEN

FOX MGR WHO FIRED JOURNOS GETS PROMOTED TO FOX'S SECOND-BIGGEST STATION

TRIAL TO START SOON, LATE JUNE/EARLY JULY

TRIAL DELAYED AGAIN WILL NOT START 6/12

FOX STALLS ON TESTIMONY OF ITS PRESIDENT

RALPH NADER TESTIFIES RE PUBLIC INTEREST

MEDIATION IS BRIEF AND UNSUCCESSFUL

FOX CHALLENGES PLAINTIFFS' rBGH EXPERTS

CRONKITE TESTIFIES FOR AKRE & WILSON 


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