With Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker and City Councilman Chris Nettles scheduled for a Contempt of Court hearing for possible violations of a gag order in the trial of former police officer Aaron Dean, Jackson Walker partner Paul C. Watler spoke with NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth about the First Amendment rights of public officials.
“That Amendment guarantees the right of all Americans, especially including elected public officials, to speak freely about matters of public concern. So, public officials, mayors, city councilmembers, they not only have a right but a duty to speak out publicly to their constituents on something as important and significant within the city as a police officer shooting to death an innocent citizen.”
Paul is a board-certified civil trial lawyer who is widely recognized for First Amendment, media law, “Bet-the-Company” cases, and commercial litigation. He has successfully represented numerous newspapers, television stations, media companies, websites, and journalists in libel, anti-SLAPP (Texas Citizens Participation Act), public information, invasion of privacy, copyright, news gathering, and commercial lawsuits. Throughout his career, Paul has held leadership positions on the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas Board, the Dallas Bar Association Media Relations Committee, The University of Texas at Austin – Moody College of Communication Advisory Council, and the North Texas Public Broadcasting (KERA) Board.
For related insights from Paul regarding access to public information, view the following articles:
- How We Fight Back When Officials Resist Releasing Information You Have a Right to Know — ProPublica
- Texas Federal District Judge: Use of Drones for Newsgathering Protected by First Amendment – Jackson Walker
- Student Podcast Captivates While Rehashing Aftermath of Austin Serial Bombings – Jackson Walker
- Dallas Media Shines in Coverage of Amber Guyger Murder Trial – Jackson Walker
- Aligning Open Government Ideals With Law Enforcement Provisions – Jackson Walker