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Judge: DA denied access to interview of sexual assault victim

Case is first test of state Shield Law

MADISON, Wis. - A judge has denied the Dane County District Attorney access to a News 3 interview of a sexual assault victim in one of the first tests of the state's Shield Law.

In November, News 3 interviewed the victim of an alleged sexual assault inside a Cross Plains restaurant in August. District Attorney Ishmael Ozanne filed suit asking that News 3 provide prosecutors with the full interview with the assault victim.

A ruling released Monday from Dane County Judge Rebecca St. John states Ozanne failed to meet the standards set in Wisconsin's Shield Law to subpoena information from News 3. The judge wrote that the victim's statements to News 3 were consistent with her statements to police and that the victim would tell prosecutors about her interview with News 3 if asked.

"We are pleased Judge St. John has protected the rights of journalists to do their job," said News 3 News Director Colin Benedict. "The district attorney and police have already interviewed the alleged victim in this case. Why they felt it necessary to peek into the unaired portions of our interview with her was always confusing to us."

A message was left with the DA's office requesting comment.

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