‘Fayetteville Observer’ Reporter Denied Access to Soldier’s Arriagnment

By: The Associated Press

(AP) Experts say Fort Bragg likely violated the First Amendment when it sought to prohibit reporters from identifying accusers at a soldier’s arraignment.

The Fayetteville Observer reported it was denied access to Wednesday’s arraignment of Spc. Aaron Pernell because its reporter refused to agree to the rule on identifying accusers. The 22-year-old Pernell faces charges including rape and burglary.

The Observer doesn’t publish names of victims of sexual crimes. But Pernell faces charges other than sex crimes.

The arraignment was open to other members of the public without restriction. Legal experts say reporters are guaranteed the same rights.

A military spokesman says reporters won’t be prohibited from identifying people at Pernell’s court-martial.

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