ˇ July 12, 2000:
Loses Key Motion; Jury
Plaintiffs do not have to
prove Fox guilty of violating Communications Act
ˇ July 8, 2000:
Derail Entire Case
ˇ June 30, 2000:
Judge Steinberg Ready To
Get Case Back On Track
ˇ June 26, 2000:
Judge Says 'No' to
Hearing Wilson/Akre v Fox
ˇ June 21, 2000:
Judge To Hear Fox/BGH Case While Fox Dishes More Distortion To
ˇ June 16, 2000:
Date Pushed Back Again; New Judge To Be Selected
ˇ June 8, 2000:
Manager Who Fired Akre and Wilson In Tampa Gets Big Promotion
David Boylan Flies Into The Sunset to Manage KTTV, Los Angeles
ˇ June 6, 2000:
Will Start Sooner Than Expected
It will proceed in the heat of the summer, probably in July
ˇ May 25, 2000:
Will Not Start June 12 as Scheduled
ˇ May 18, 2000:
Stalls on Testimony of Its president Mitchell Stern
Pre-trial hearing is otherwise uneventful
Testifies About Broadcasters' Public Interest Requirement
Presidential candidate gives testimony at pre-trial depo
ˇ May 5, 2000:
Court-ordered Mediation Is Brief and
Trial set to begin June 12
ˇ April 28,2000:
Fox Challenges rBGH
Experts At Depositions
Fox lawyers laying ground-
work to tell jurors experts are cancer scaremongers?
ˇ April 26,2000:
Testifies on Behalf of Akre & Wilson
Fox lawyers lodge objections
ˇ October 19:
Fox Lawyers Insist On Secrecy At Deposition
French TV Ejected
ˇ October 18:
FDA Wants Comments on G-M Foods
Public Meetings Start in November
ˇ October 13:
Judge Rules: Trial Will Proceed:
Defense loses third effort to have case dismissed
ˇ September 24:
Gene-modified foods might get labels:
Industry weighs voluntary steps, U.S. studies options as well
ˇ September 20:
Trial Still Set to Start Soon:
Busy Docket Delays foxBGHsuit
ˇ August 4:
Will the fight over gene-altered food products leapfrog across the Atlantic?
ˇ June 30:
UN Health Group Shuns BGH
ˇ June 1:
New York Times:
Farmers’ Right To Sue Grows - Food Warning Muzzle Likely
ˇ May 10:
Corporate Crime Reporter:
Monsanto Officials Join Leading Consumer, Environmental Groups
ˇ May 3:
Fox Deceives Viewers in Primetime,
Net Admits Staging after INSIDE EDITION Report
ˇ April 30:
Democracy Group Award to
Fired Reporters Cited for "Courage in Journalism"
ˇ April 29:
New Trial Date is October
Fox Piles On Big-Name Lawyers
ˇ April 17:
Clinton Lawyer Joins Fox
David Kendall Involvement Confirmed in Letter to Monsanto
ˇ April 16:
Fox Pleads for Another Delay
Later Trial Date to be Set April 29th
ˇ April 1:
Judge Says BGH Case Will
Go To Trial
Opening Gavel Falls May 10th
ˇ February 16:
PENTHOUSE Exposes BGH,
First-rate story of BGH situation and lawsuit against Fox TV
(rated G -- no nudity, just the story)
ˇ January 25:
Summary of BGH Developments
ˇ January 14:
How Fox Wanted to Slant News
of Canadian Concerns
Canadian BGH Concerns Were Big Issue In Firing of Fox Reporters
ˇ January 14:
Canada Says NO to BGH!
Read the CBC Story or
ˇ January 14:
Health Canada Rejects Bovine Growth Hormone in Canada
Government News Release
ˇ December 16:
Akre & Wilson Win Courage
For Work On Story Which Cost Them Their Jobs
ˇ December 15:
ABC NEWS Catches Up on BGH
Read the ABC Story or
ˇ November 7:
FOX Legal (8/28) Answers
to Reporters' Complaint Now Available
ˇ November 1:
and Fox: Partners in Censorship
PR Watch - Showcase Article
ˇ October 30:
Canadians Probe Coverup Claim
Read CBC Story or
ˇ October 24:
Reporters Get Top SPJ Ethics
ˇ October 22:
BGH Issue Explodes in Canada:
Read CBC Story or
ˇ October 7:
SECRET Canadian Study Leaked...
...BGH safety questions unanswered?
ˇ Sept 13:
Akre-Wilson Depos Start
ˇ Sept 10:
SP Times covers NutraSweet flap
ˇ Sept 10:
Our Story: Fox Still Protecting
ˇ Sept 8:
Fox Pulls Plug on NutraSweet
ˇ Sept 1:
Reporters Respond To Defense
story FOX-TV refused to air...
ˇ July 14:
Judge refuses to dismiss
all but one count of reporters' suit
ˇ July 5:
Digger Still Plays Dirty
ˇ July 1:
Depositions Continue, Trial Date
ˇ June 7:
Akre/Wilson Preparing FCC Complaint
ˇ May 26:
Judge rejects Defense motion
for Protective Order
ˇ May 25:
Grazing A Stink
- - -Don't Have a Cow
ˇ May 23:
NEW YORK TIMES:
(Silenced) Reporters... Post Web Site
ˇ May 21:
Wilson/Akre demand on-air correction
ˇ April 29:
FOX-TV asks court:
and Delay depositions
How Much Could You
PRICE OF SEEKING JUSTICE JUST
KEEPS ON GOING UP AND UP
By STEVE WILSON
(July 14, 2000)—After struggling for more than two years just to
get their case into a public courtroom, Jane Akre and Steve Wilson
learned again yesterday that the pursuit of justice is not cheap.
unexpectedly moving the Fox/BGH trial out of Judge Ralph
Steinberg’s usual courtroom into a newly-remodeled, high-tech
courtroom across the street, the plaintiffs were told late Friday
they’d have to cough up more than $2,775 a day if they wanted to
actually use all the audio-video equipment that is built into
the new facility.
HAS BEEN SEATED -- CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
Opening statements are
set to begin at 8:30 Monday morning and the trial is expected to
last up to four weeks. Even
if the plaintiffs took advantage of the court’s bargain “weekly
rate,” the bill could run over $30,000.
Fox requested the special
courtroom and acting chief Judge Robert Bonnano ordered the move
behind the scenes without the consent of the plaintiffs and without
any disclosure of the potential cost to them.
Judge Steinberg himself seemed surprised when he announced the
move from the bench last Wednesday, telling the parties,
“They’ve got a fancy new courtroom over there across the street
and I guess they want to use it.”
When court officials
stood firm and demanded payment arrangements on the eve of his
opening to the jury, co-plaintiff Wilson told them he could not
afford to pay and would just have to bring in other equipment to
help present the plaintiffs’ case to the jury.
court administrator then explained they would block the plaintiffs
from using other equipment unless they went to the time, trouble,
and expense of tearing up the courtroom sub-floor to run all cords
and wires underneath.
The court administrators
say they want to avoid laying wires on the courtroom floor.
They contend it would be a tripping hazard.
For many years and even today, cables to operate audio-video
equipment are routinely laid and safely taped to the floors of every
other courtroom in the building.
“We want to get away from that,” an administrator
And how does a
government facility built with public tax dollars get away with
charging added fees for its use?
Here’s the official
explanation: Although the courtroom itself is a public facility and
free to use, the built-in audio-visual equipment was not purchased
with tax dollars. The
court entered into a contract with a private company, Xerox, to
provide, install, and maintain the equipment and to charge everybody
who wants to use it.
Going To Court in Tampa?
Don't Leave Home Without One Of These!
"Taxpayers don’t like to pay for court facilities when many
of them don’t ever use the courts,” the administrator explained
to Wilson when he questioned the arrangement.
"And people without
children don’t like to pay for public schools, either, but
isn’t that another price we all pay for living in a civilized,
democratic society?” Wilson responded.
The court official
explained the entire matter will have to be taken up with the judge
at 8:30 Monday when the parties and the jury arrive.
“This case will just not be able to go forward at 8:30
a.m.” she announced.
Steinberg could order the trial back into his usual courtroom and go
back to doing it “the old fashioned way.”
If he goes along with new rules that court administrators are
pushing to enforce for the first time in this case, it could take
several hours to string cables beneath the courtroom floor.
Of greater concern to the plaintiffs is that their
presentation to the jury would be significantly less polished than
the defendant’s who can easily afford full access to the
expensive, state-of-the art equipment that is built in.
"How much justice
can you afford? That seems to be the issue here,” said co-plaintiff Jane
represented himself throughout most of the case to save money.
The defendants objected—and lost—when they tried to stop
him from videotaping depositions with a home video camera to save the
cost of hiring professional video companies Fox sometimes employed.
“And while we’ve
struggled to keep our attorneys paid, and to buy as many deposition
transcripts as we could afford, and to pay all the other pre-trial
expenses, we never dreamed or budgeted thousands of dollars for the
privilege of using the facilities in the public courthouse,” Akre
The first hint of any
extra expense came near the end of the first day of the proceedings
as the litigants were selecting the jury.
A court official handed
envelopes to Akre attorney Tom Johnson and to Wilson.
During a brief break, Wilson opened his envelope to see the
letterhead of Court Business Center and the official seal of the
“It is our
understanding that you will be participating in an upcoming trial in
the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Tampa, FL,” it said.
“The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the
resources and capabilities available on-site for your usage.“
Below is a list of the
equipment available, along with the weekly rental rates at our Court
Business Center…located in the main courthouse on the second floor
in Room 274,” it went on. Below
it was a menu of rates for items such as video monitors, cassette
players, and document projectors.
Wilson figured he
wouldn’t need—and certainly couldn’t afford—any of that
equipment in the Court Business Center on the floor below.
He thought he and the attorneys representing the co-plaintiff
would just use what was built into the new courtroom.
He put the letter away.
It was late Friday when
Wilson went to the courtroom to check out the equipment he and
Akre’s attorneys intended to use.
Two officials approached and asked, “How do you like our
response: “very nice.” But
then they lowered the boom, asking, “And how do you plan to
Shocked, Wilson asked why
he was never clearly told about the charges.
“Well, you never asked,” a court worker responded.
“You know,” Wilson
says, “if it wasn’t so sad and outrageous, it would almost be