Las Vegas Sun

December 20, 2014

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Nevada Supreme Court says TV producer protected by shield law

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that Las Vegas television producer Dana Gentry does not have to disclose her sources for news stories involving Aspen Financial Services Inc. and its owner Jeffrey Guinn, the son of the late Gov. Kenny Guinn.

Justice Michael Douglas, who authored the unanimous opinion, said state law that protects journalists from having to reveal their sources applies in this case. “As this court has previously explained the statute ‘confers upon journalists an absolute privilege from disclosure of their sources and information in any proceeding’ in order ‘to enhance the newsgathering process’...”

Gentry is executive producer of "Ralston Reports," a public affairs show on KSNV Channel 3 hosted by political commentator Jon Ralston.

Guinn and his company were sued by a group of investors who claimed he mismanaged their money. Guinn filed a countersuit claiming he was libeled by reports and comments by these investors on the television program.

Gentry was not a defendant in the libel suit filed by Guinn.

He alleged, however, that Gentry was friends with people who gave her gifts and services and supplied information that resulted in unfavorable stories about Aspen.

Guinn sought a writ to force Gentry to disclose whether she had received any gifts or services from the unhappy investors that led to news reports.

The court said Guinn was actually trying to find out the sources for her stories and that is protected by Nevada’s shield law.

Douglas wrote that Guinn and Aspen had “not identified any circumstances to overcome the application of the news shield...”

The decision upholds the ruling of District Court Judge Allan Earl.

The court said there may be circumstances in future cases where the news shield law “might have to yield so that justice may be service,” but that was not the case in this instance.

The state Division of Mortgage Lending revoked the license of Aspen Financial in June, finding the company was $8 million in debt.

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