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U.S. justices reject accused shooter's appeal over reporter sources

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an appeal by a man facing trial for a high-profile mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater in 2012 over his lawyers' attempt to force a Fox News reporter to testify.

The court's refusal to hear James Holmes' appeal leaves intact a December 2013 New York Court of Appeals ruling that said reporter Jana Winter did not have to disclose details about her sources.

Holmes's lawyers wanted Winter's testimony concerning her reporting on the shooting at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, in which 12 people were killed.

The attorneys say the information disclosed to Winter by law enforcement officials about material Holmes wrote in a notebook jeopardized their client's chances of getting a fair trial. A local judge had earlier issued a gag order prohibiting information about the notebook being made public.

Holmes, who faces a total of 166 felony charges, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

The case is Holmes v. Winter, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 13-1096

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Howard Goller and W Simon)

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