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

OPENING STATEMENTS, TESTIMONY SET FOR MONDAY
Report Archive:

ˇ July 12, 2000:
Fox Loses Key Motion; Jury
Is Seated

Plaintiffs do not have to
prove Fox guilty of violating Communications Act

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

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

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

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

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

ˇ 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

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

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

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

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

ˇ May 5, 2000:
Court-ordered Mediation Is Brief and Unsuccessful
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:
Walter Cronkite 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:
MSNBC: 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:
MSNBC: Mutable Feast:
Will the fight over gene-altered food products leapfrog across the Atlantic?

ˇ June 30:
Consumers International:
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, Too
Net Admits Staging after INSIDE EDITION Report

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

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

ˇ April 17:
Clinton Lawyer Joins Fox Legal Team
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, Fox Coverup:
First-rate story of BGH situation and lawsuit against Fox TV (rated G -- no nudity, just the story)

ˇ January 25:
ENS 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 View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

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

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

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

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

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

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

ˇ October 24:
Reporters Get Top SPJ Ethics Award

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

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

ˇ Sept 13:
Akre-Wilson Depos Start

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

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

ˇ Sept 8:
Fox Pulls Plug on NutraSweet Foe

ˇ Sept 1:
Reporters Respond To Defense

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

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

ˇ July 5:
OBSERVER/London
Digger Still Plays Dirty

ˇ July 1:
Depositions Continue, Trial Date Set

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

ˇ May 26:
Judge rejects Defense motion
for Protective Order

ˇ May 25:
WEEKLY PLANET/Tampa:
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:
Dismiss case and Delay depositions

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How Much Could You Afford?   
PRICE OF SEEKING JUSTICE JUST
   KEEPS ON GOING UP AND UP
                                                
By STEVE WILSON
        TAMPA (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.
         After 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.
 JURY 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. 
       
A high-ranking 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 explained.
       
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.
         Presumably, Judge 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 Akre. 
        Wilson has 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 added.
        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 state court.
       
“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 facility?”  Wilson’s response: “very nice.”  But then they lowered the boom, asking, “And how do you plan to arrange payment?”
        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 funny.”

Stories Posted Recently:

FOX LOSES KEY MOTION, JURY IS SEATED

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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