December 7, 2012
OLYMPIA- A Thurston County Superior Court judge on Friday, Dec. 7, dismissed a subpoena from JZK, Inc, a corporation controlled by J.Z. Knight, that would have required the Freedom Foundation to turn over documents and related materials used in the production of news articles and video exposés of the Yelm cult leader.
This fall, the Foundation wrote a series of website articles and produced video features about Ramtha School of Enlightenment teacher J.Z. Knight’s relationship with state and local lawmakers and the dangers at her school.
Knight’s attorney subpoenaed the Foundation, demanding information about its sources that aided in the investigation.
The Freedom Foundation fought the subpoenas in JZK. Inc. v. Coverdale, et al. and won.
“We’re pleased that Judge (James) Dixon granted the motion and upheld the Freedom Foundation’s constitutional and statutory rights to protect the identity of our sources,” said Jonathan Bechtle, CEO of the Freedom Foundation.
As part of its mission to hold government accountable, the Freedom Foundation investigates stories of government misconduct and communicates them to the general public. Our recent stories about J.Z. Knight came to light as part of an investigation into allegations of cronyism between Knight and county officials.
The Foundation makes confidential agreements to sources that help gather the information for investigations. The right to maintain a confidentiality agreement like this is provided by the First Amendment and also by common law and statutory reporter shield laws. Without confidentiality agreements, the Foundation would not be able to conduct successful investigations.
“The Foundation can and will continue to stay on the front lines of exposing corruption in Washington,” Bechtle said.
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