That story about the notebook James Holmes supposedly mailed to a psychiatrist, outlining his plans to shoot up the movie theater was a hell of a scoop for Fox News, but now Aurora prosecutors are saying in a court filing that it was probably all a big hoax. The new doubts come from a motion prosecutors filed Friday, saying the package from Holmes, discovered in a University of Colorado mailroom, hadn't yet been inspected and any report of its contents -- that would be the notebook -- couldn't be trusted. "The contents were secured and not examined, and held for potential in camera review," the motion says. The motion comes in response to one from Holmes, and argues that his rights to a fair trial hadn't been violated (as he'd claimed) by that leaked information because the supposed leaks were either hoaxes the reporters fell for, or made up by the reporters themselves. For evidence, the motion cites two facts it says reporters for Fox News and NBCNews.org got wrong.
The report from Fox News' Jana Winter, which first mentioned the notebook, cited two unnamed "law enforcement sources," which prosecutors now claim either don't exist or didn't give accurate information. The prosecution's motion, which Reuters' Matthew Keys uploaded to Scribd, also calls out NBCNews.com for inaccurate reporting. The motion claims Fox News' story, which said the FBI had taken possession of the package and its contents (the notebook), couldn't be true because the Aurora police took possession of the package. It also throws cold water on NBCNews' report, from Mike Kosnar, which cited a law enforcement source who said there were two search warrants: one for the mailroom and one for the contents of the package. "This is not correct, as the Aurora Police Department obtained only one search warrant." Finally, there's this:
These factual errors lead the People to believe that there may not even be a "law enforcement source" "leaking" confidential information and that the media is getting information from hoaxers, fraudsters, or maybe from nobody at all by creating fake "law enforcement sources" out of whole cloth. To put it bluntly, the People are extremely dubious of the media assertions that "law enforcement sources" exist. The court need not, and should not, accept that the media is correctly identifying the affiliations of the persons they claim are providing them with "information."
Earlier this week Michael Roberts, a reporter with the Denver area alt-weekly Westword, questioned Winters' notebook story, writing that police wouldn't confirm they'd found the notebook from Holmes. We've reached out to Fox News and NBCNews.com, and will update this with their response.