A reporter is facing the threat of jail time after allegedly violating a judge's order not to take video of "The Bachelor" star Chris Soules appearing in court in his hit-and-run case.
Prosecutors are pursuing contempt of court proceedings against KWWL's Elizabeth Amanieh, a reporter for the NBC affiliate in Waterloo, in what could be the first case of its kind against an Iowa journalist in decades. If convicted, she could be punished with a $500 fine and up to 180 days in jail.
Amanieh, 22, obtained exclusive video of Soules' April 25 initial appearance after he was jailed for his role in the accident that killed 66-year-old Kenneth Mosher. Police say Soules rear-ended Mosher's tractor and left the scene after calling 911. Soules has pleaded not guilty to the felony, which has prompted intense public interest given his status as a local celebrity.
Iowa court rules allow journalists to record video, audio and photographs of hearings as long as they have prior approval. Prosecutors contend that Judge Linda Fangman told Amanieh she would not allow the station's video cameras to record the hearing and that only photos would be permitted. They say Amanieh violated that order by using her cellphone to record the six-minute appearance, which was later posted to KWWL.com and widely viewed.