On November 5, 2013, Needleman and his attorneys filed a motion to move the trial out of Brevard County. In his “Motion for Change of Venue,” many articles from Brevard Times were noted because of Ellis’ frequent and unencumbered characterizations of Needelman, Harr, and DuPree. Needelman says he cannot get a fair trial in Brevard because of this.
Quickly, let’s take a look back at the coverage.The first story I wrote was an opinion column in May 2012 about a debate between Needelman and Ellis. I’m sure BlueWare was mentioned in the debate…however, I did not mention it in the column. I recall Ellis had begun to bang the BlueWare drum, but it seemed too much speculation and too few facts.
Next, I wrote two columns in June 2012 about the two candidates. In Needelman’s story, BlueWare was not mentioned by name. However, he did reference his interest in scanning court documents. And he said, “We are still negotiating a contract for these services. This would be an incredible advancement for my office.”
In the column I wrote about Ellis’ candidacy, he talked about BlueWare…again and again and again. He said, “The whole office is for sale. Everything he touches is corrupt. The whole point is to give Blueware millions of dollars. Digitizing those old records is a waste of time and money.”
From July 2012 until September 2013, I wrote about 20 news stories and four opinion columns referencing the case, including the inclusion of the Brevard County Economic Development Commission’s role (or lack thereof) in the mess.
During that time, I was accused of being on Needelman’s side and then of being a lackey for Ellis. I was invited and then dis-invited to both a tour of the BlueWare facility and then also to a BlueWare garden party.
And now my name is appearing in the court documents.There are other issues as well that Needelman claims in his filing - Ellis’ role as caretaker of court documents and his relationship with local judges - to be specific. But much of the motion for change of venue references comments by Ellis and those of Brevard Times readers.
While other media outlets came to the fete late with videos of perp walks and recountings of stories Brevard Times had published months prior (including some of our direct work product without attribution, but that is another story for another time), Brevard Times was always out in front as the publication-of-record.
The next hearing in this case will be in January 2014 when the judge considers the change of venue request. I think I’ll take a day off of my day job and show up at court.Stay tuned…