LUBBOCK, Texas — On Wednesday, Dolcefino Consulting of Houston released a public copy of a letter sent to U.S. District Court Senior Judge Sam Cummings.
In part, the letter, dated October 7, said, “My company will vigorously defend any further action by your court that limits our freedom of the press under the First Amendment.”
Last week, while Ford Motor Credit Company and Bart Reagor were presenting their respective cases to a jury, Cummings issued a gag order. He did so after Dolcefino made comments in support of Reagor to the Lubbock news media.
The order said both parties “agree and stipulate that Defendant Bart Reagor, either directly or indirectly, shall not make any statements in the public about the case during the pendency of this trial.”
“This specifically includes any public relations firms working for or on behalf of Mr. Reagor,” the order said.
“To be abundantly clear – I view your decision to enter a gag order as prior restraint on news coverage…” Dolcefino wrote.
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A copy of the letter is as follows:
Federal Judge Sam R. Cummings
1205 Texas Avenue, Room 308
Lubbock, Texas 79401
On October 3,2019 you entered a gag order in Civil Action No. 5:18-CV-18 6-C, Ford Motor Credit Co, LLC v. Bart Reagor and Rick Dykes. The gag order identified any public relations firms that might speak on Mr. Reagor’s behalf. The gag order as we read it expired at the end of the trial, which ended on the afternoon of October 3,2019.
For the record, Dolcefino Consulting is not a public relations firm. Dolcefino Consulting is an investigative media consulting firm. We are a privately funded media company which operates journalism sites on YouTube and Facebook. Our clients have no editorial control on what we report and we maintain journalistic protections and privileges recogni zedby the United States Constitution, Texas Shield Laws, and the United States Supreme Court in cases Near v. Minnesota and Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart.
To be abundantly clear – I view your decision to enter a gag order as prior restraint on news coverage of the Ford Motor Credit Co, LLC v. Bart Reagor and Rick Dykes case. I also believe Bart Reagor has a fundamental right to defend his integrity and his reputation, as any American citizen should. I am sure you would want the same right if your integrity was ever under assault by the media. I am especially intrigued that your punitive action against Mr. Reagor did not include a similar gag order on Ford Motor Company. The comments we made regarding the settlement between Mr. Dykes and Ford was already a matter of public record and was omitted from the testimony of Ford, when they represented that there was no additional source of funds from which to recover.
Marshall Searcy may represent Mr. Reagor but he does not represent Dolcefino Consulting. I strongly take issue with any order that restrains the First Amendment rights of Dolcefino Consulting to publish material on our news sites, or to make public comments on issues of injustice.
I firmly believe Bart Reagor is unfairly being held to account for the criminal actions of others. However, my company has terminated its relationship with Bart Reagor. I have enclosed that termination in this letter. My company will vigorously defend any further action by your court that limits our freedom of the press under the First Amendment.
I hope you will reconsider the gag order that has been issued against Mr. Reagor.
Wayne Dolcefino, President Dolcefino Consulting