Internet company loses bid to show McVeigh execution
(CNN) - A federal judge has rejected an Internet company's request to Webcast the execution of convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
Entertainment Network, Inc., which produces the adult Web sites Voyeurdorm.com and Dudedorm.com, sued the U.S. Justice Department and the Bureau of Prisons arguing that the government's ban on the recording and broadcast of the execution violated the First Amendment protection of freedom of the press.
U.S. District Court Judge John D. Tinder rejected the request in a 31-page ruling issued April 18, saying the government's restriction does not "unwarrantedly abridge(s) the opportunities for communication of thought."
The court said that running a prison "is an inordinately difficult undertaking," and that the government has a right to issue regulations as long as they are "reasonably related to legitimate penological interests."
Entertainment Network is expected to appeal the ruling. Its attorney Derek A. Newman told The New York Times his client would take the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, or directly to the U.S. Supreme Court as a constitutional emergency.
The Justice Department argued that the restrictions do not infringe on the First Amendment because representatives of the media will be allowed to witness the execution.
McVeigh is scheduled to die May 16 by lethal injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana for the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people. It will be the first federal execution since 1963.
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft ruled April 12 that survivors of the bombing and the victims' families would be able to watch a closed-circuit television broadcast of the execution in Oklahoma City. He said the transmission would be strictly secured to make sure that it is not intercepted.
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