A defense attorney for Carlton Dotson, charged with murder in the death of Baylor University basketball player Patrick Dennehy, accused a Dallas Morning News reporter Thursday of misrepresenting herself to gain a jailhouse interview with the suspect. The newspaper denied the accusation.
Dotson’s attorney, Grady Irvin, told CNN the News’ reporter, intern Shani George, did not say she was a journalist and identified herself as a member of a “prayer group” to gain access to Dotson.
But Stuart Wilk, managing editor of the News, said George clearly stated why she had gone to the jail in Chestertown, Md., where Dotson is being held without bail, according to the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram.
“She told the desk officer at the jail that she hoped to interview Mr. Dotson and handed the officer a copy of her press credentials and an unsealed note to Mr. Dotson, identifying herself as working for The Dallas Morning News … ,” Wilk said in the statement.
George’s article appeared on the front page of the News on Thursday and quoted Dotson as saying he felt “betrayed” by Dennehy. Many news organizations published portions of the interview.
George said in a TV interview that she did not take notes. Instead, Wilk said, George immediately called an editor in Dallas after the brief interview and relayed what he had told her, “including direct quotes from Mr. Dotson that were still fresh in her mind.”
(Click on the CNN.com link for the transcript of an interview with the intern.)