Court documents reveal that in his divorce trial, Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly has requested a gag order on his children and ex-wife, who alleged to a court-appointed forensic examiner that she’d witnessed O’Reilly choking and dragging her mother down a flight of stairs by the neck.
O’Reilly is deeply entrenched in a legal feud with his ex-wife, Maureen McPhilmy over the custody of their young son and daughter. According to reports, a Nassau County Supreme Court Justice granted McPhilmy sole custody of their young son and daughter.
O’Reilly and his child custody attorney appealed the decision. A panel of appellate judges in New York’s Second Judicial Department then allowed O’Reilly’s appeal to move forward, which then delayed enforcement of the new custody arrangement, but didn’t reverse it.
According to a record custodian at the Second Department, O’Reilly filed a related motion about the same custody trial that same day for a gag order — a common, but controversial legal device judges employ to restrict press access to court cases. A gag order explicitly forbids the involved parties from being able to discuss the proceedings with reporters.
Gag orders are typically reversed on First Amendment grounds, but the Supreme Court has upheld their constitutional validity twice before, though.
The court, however, ultimately denied O’Reilly’s request. It’s unknown if O’Reilly decided to re-file in another jurisdiction, and whether that’s resulted in a new ruling on the matter.
What’s particularly interesting of this gag order is that the person requesting it — conservative pundit O’Reilly — has been a vocal supporter of free speech.
“Oppressing free speech — oppressing free speech — not unusual in far left precincts; communism wipes out all free expression,” wrote O’Reilly back in Feb. 2014. “That’s their doctrine. And now we see the uber [sic] left in America trying to impose the same gag order. Well, it’s not going to work. And this very program will make sure of that.”