News media data sought: The polygamous group’s members are targets of a lawsuit by a female relative
A federal judge on Thursday threw out subpoenas seeking notes, film outtakes and other information from two media outlets that covered a news conference announcing the filing of a suit against the polygamous Kingston clan.
Two members of the clan, who are among the hundreds of defendants in that suit, responded with a defamation action against accuser Mary Ann Kingston. Stephen and Ted Kingston claim she and her attorneys defamed them at her Aug. 1, 2003, press conference.
The men also sought to take depositions from reporters to get their impressions of what was said.
A lawyer for The Associated Press and KUTV-Channel 2 argued at Thursday’s hearing that the two men are on a “fishing expedition.” Attorney Jeffrey J. Hunt added: “Reporters should not be dragged into the midst of cases they are covering.”
In dismissing the subpoenas, U.S. District Judge Dee Benson noted the news organizations already had given the Kingstons their published stories and news broadcasts about the press conference. He said there are alternative sources, including Mary Ann Kingston herself and her lawyers, who could be interviewed.
In her personal injury suit, Mary Ann Kingston has named 242 members of the Kingston clan and nearly 100 businesses operated by family members as defendants, claiming the relatives knew she had been forced into an incestuous relationship with her polygamist uncle but did nothing to stop it.
At least four other defamation cases have been filed in Utah state courts by various Kingston family members who are named in her suit.
Two suits have been thrown out by a judge who said the remarks at the news conference covered such a large group that no one person could claim any harm.