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Philadelphia Court Upholds Gag Order In Tacony ‘Basement of Horror’ Case

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge has upheld a gag order covering those connected with the case of a Tacony woman accused of keeping four mentally disabled people captive in her basement (see related story).

After hearing nearly two hours of arguments, Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper upheld a Municipal Court judge’s ruling that bars attorneys, defendants, witnesses, victims, and some minors from commenting on the case against Linda Weston and three other defendants (see previous story).

Commonwealth attorneys declined to comment after today’s ruling, but Philadelphia Media Network attorney Amy Ginensky says she is disappointed.

“The order is overly broad and vague, and it violates the First Amendment,” says Ginensky, whose client owns the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.  “It’s very hard to understand what people can and cannot say, because they clearly can say some things but there are other things that they are not permitted to speak about.”

Judge Woods-Skipper disagrees, saying that prior ruling is not overly broad and does not hamper the media’s ability to cover the proceedings.

Philadelphia Media Network is considering taking the case to a higher court.

Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio 1060

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