Swett trial gag order raps Robeson County media

Record Number: 

Woolverton, Paul. “Swett trial gag order raps Robeson County media.” The Fayetteville Observer-Times (Fayetteville, NC). July 31, 1998


Superior Court Judge Dexter Brooks issued a gag order on July 30, 1998, harshly criticizing the Robeson County media. Originally, Brooks issued an oral gag order on July 13, but this time it is in writing. It follows a case that found Purnell Sweet and Athelia Locklear to have stolen from the school system.

Brooks criticized reporting from The Robesonian and the Fayetteville Observer-Times and news reports for false reporting and factual mistakes. The gag order also prevents Swett and Locklear from discussing their cases publicly. The written order bans video, photography, and audio recordings from the courthouse, and there will be no interviews within 10 feet of the courthouse.

The two newspapers have yet to decide whether they will challenge it or not. Observer-Times Editor Charles Broadwell noted that a 25-page critique of the media making such claims may insinuate there is something to hide. 

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