Coverup of Nashville Trans Shooter's Journal Continues

Newspaper man who exposed trans shooter's manifesto is ordered to court — and press freedom types are silent


By Joseph Mackinnon, The Blaze.com, June 17, 2024
 

radical transvestite marched into a Christian elementary school in Nashville on March 27, 2023, and murdered three 9-year-old children — Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney, and Hallie Scruggs — and three adults — teacher Cynthia Peak, custodian Mike Hill, and head of school Katherine Koonce.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department refrained from announcing a possible motive for the attack, prompting months of speculation about its anti-Christian nature as well as the likelihood that LGBT activists' alarmist rhetoric and destabilizing sex-change drugs were factors. The FBI appeared especially keen to hide the transvestite shooter's motives from the public.

After a year of uncertainty and Democrats exploiting the massacre to push gun bans, the truth has become abundantly clear, thanks to Michael Patrick Leahy, the CEO of Star News Digital Media and the editor of the Tennessee Star, who published the shooter's suicide note and other writings, which his paper obtained from an unnamed source some have suggested is close to the MNPD's investigation.

It appears Leahy may ultimately pay a price for doing his job and protecting his source.

After Stacy Cameron, a reporter for a local Fox News affiliate, effectively snitched on the Tennessee Star for detailing the shooter's leaked writings, l'Ashea Myles — the Democratic judge for Part III of the Tennessee 20th Judicial District Chancery Court — ordered Leahy last week to court for a show cause hearing.

The purported point of the hearing, set to take place Monday, is "to determine why the alleged publication of certain purported documents by Petitioners Star Digital Media and Michael Leahy, as the Editor-in-Chief, does not violate the Orders of this Court subjecting them to contempt proceedings and sanctions."

Blaze News investigative reporter Steve Baker, who himself was arrested earlier this year for working in a journalistic capacity, will be on the scene for the hearing and has spoken with Leahy concerning the hazards of reporting on what the liberal media appears otherwise keen to ignore.

"My feeling is that this very lower, lower, lower court judge is being pressured by somebody far above her pay grade to bring action here against a local journalist who legally acquired documents and information about one of the most substantial shootings in the country last year," Baker told Blaze News. "This was obviously a situation where the FBI did not want these documents out, did not want the manifesto out."

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Baker suggested that the apparent aim is to stop the release of documents that the powers that be "see as inappropriate because, once again, we have a favored class of citizens — a subclass — of transgender people," and such damning information might also implicate the use of profitable antidepressants and puberty blockers.

Blaze News reached out to the ACLU as well as its Nashville chapter about the prospect that a newspaper man might be punished for doing his job. Neither responded by deadline. PEN America and Freedom House similarly did not respond to questions about their ostensibly selective support for embattled reporters.

Background

When it became clear that officials weren't going to cough up a motive or the shooter's writings, the Tennessee Firearms Association and the Nashville Police Association unsuccessfully sued, demanding that officials release the killer's manifesto and other writings.

When the FBI denied its public records request, Leahy's Tennessee Star also filed a lawsuit.

"The documents are public record, and they should be released. Metro government failed to release them; we asked them nicely. They didn't. They shared those documents with the FBI, and we asked them nicely in accordance with the law. When government entities don't comply with the law, we have recourse through the courts," said Leahy.

Extra to pressure from the free press and local organizations, law enforcement officials were met with a request from 77 Tennessee House Republicans for the transvestite shooter's "writings as well as relevant medical records and toxicology reports."

The MNPD dragged its feet and asked a court to first permit family members of the victims and other interested parties to raise objections to the release of the documents.

Sure enough, the Covenant Presbyterian Church and the associated school filed a motion to block the release of the manifesto, citing privacy concerns. Parents with children at the school also filed a motion in May 2023 against the release of the manifesto, expressing concern that its content might inspire future shootings — a line of argumentation nearly identical to that advanced by the FBI that same month.

Blaze News previously reported that officials with the FBI's Critical Incident Response Group wrote to Nashville Police Chief John Drake on May 11, 2023, about the value in suppressing so-called "legacy tokens," claiming that "public access to legacy tokens will contribute to future attacks."

The FBI also warned that a failure to hide the truth from the public "will also facilitate false narratives and inaccurate information" — and possibly even inflammatory "conspiracy theories" by unsanctioned experts.

The success of this apparent federal-supported coverup was endangered when conservative commentator Steven Crowder released three pages of the manifesto, which were later authenticated. Nashville's Democratic mayor vowed to investigatethe leak, and seven MNPD officers were placed on administrative duty.

The investigation proved fruitless.

The matter of the release of the remainder of the documents remained under consideration in Myles' Davidson County court.

Ordering a newspaper man to court

Deborah Fisher of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government noted that Myles issued an order in February stating that documents pertaining to the case about the documents, "no matter how obtained ... SHALL NOT be filed with the Court but SHALL BE submitted for in camera review following the procedures delineated in this case. … Any efforts to usurp the Orders of the Court by any Party, Counsel and/or Amici regarding the matters currently under in camera review shall be sanctioned to the fullest extent of the law, including contempt of court."

This and a follow-up order appear to be the orders Leahy is imagined to have run afoul of.

After the Fox News affiliate asked Myles about the Tennessee Star's reports earlier this month — which revealed, among other things, that the FBI floated the idea of destroying the shooter's writings and the shooter received decades of treatments at Vanderbilt Psychiatric, where she allegedly expressed violent fantasies — the judge ordered Leahy in his individual capacity to show up for a show cause hearing.

Daniel Horwitz, counsel for Leahy, stated in a June 12 court filing that the court's show cause order violates Tennessee's shield law protecting journalists' sources and information, whether obtained confidentially or not. Horwitz also suggested that the newly minted Democratic judge's order also contravenes Tennessee's contempt law, "deprives Mr. Leahy of minimum due process guarantees," and suffers from "other serious constitutional infirmities."

The court filing further indicated that Myles' order did not specify the "Orders of this Court" that were supposedly violated.

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"In contempt proceedings, 'the order underlying the charge must be clear, specific, and unambiguous,'" wrote Horwitz. "The conduct detailed in the Court's Show Cause Order does not plausibly violate any of [the court's] previous mandates."

Myles refused to rescind her order, noting that if she concludes "a leak did in fact occur by any party to this case and that such action was in violation of the Orders of this Court, or that there has been any abuse of, or unlawful interference with, the process or proceedings of the Court, or any violation as set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-9-102, this Court may then enter an order and notice appointing an attorney as amicus curiae to the court for investigative purposes, and to initiate and prosecute a contempt citation."

Baker indicated that if held in contempt, Leahy noted he could get 10 days for each supposed violation. With at least 30 offending stories published this month, it is apparently possible that the newspaper man could land hundreds of days in the slammer.

When speaking to the newspaper man this week about the prospect of legal strife over the faithful execution of journalistic duties, Baker said, "Welcome to the club."

Leahy suggested to Baker that 10 days would be a walk in the park. Hundreds of days for fulfilling his obligation as a newsman would, however, be a different story.

Former acting U.S. Assistant Attorney General Jeff Clark spoke out in defense of Leahy Thursday, noting, "What's being threatened against Mike Leahy seems to be a strange amalgam of 1) violating the First Amendment ban on prior restraints on speech; 2) a threatened mystery violation of law just like the Alvin Bragg case against Trump ('step right up, ladies and gentlemen, pick a plus-up crime, any plus-up crime'); and 3) weaponization of contempt law, like what's going on down in Fulton County with Judge Glanville in the Young Thug trial."

"What's going on in America? It's like a slice of the state judiciary across multiple States has lost its collective mind," added Clark.

"The American people deserve to know the details of how Hale was radicalized by the trans agenda. And the victims' family especially deserve to learn that information. This is what the free press is for," continued Clark. "It's not designed to coddle the trans movement or keep secrets that could get people killed through ignorance."

State Rep. Jeremy Faison (R) noted the Tennessee Legislature "will not stand for an activist judge who weaponizes their courtroom. [Leahy] is the press and does not have to prove to any courtroom that he is innocent."

Republican state Sen. Ken Yager said he would sponsor Faison's resolution to remove "judges engaging in abuse like this."

Concerning the liberal media and supposed press freedom groups' relative silence on Leahy's court appearance Monday, Baker indicated that either the First Amendment "is fundamental to the freedom of all people or it's only based on ideological preference."

"Very interesting to me that over and over and over again I hear conservatives, libertarians say, 'I will die for your right to say what you want to say even if I disagree with it. But we never get a reciprocal response from the other side," added Baker.

 

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