WBAL-TV's "big story" Friday night was a motion filed by the attorneys for the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray. The news: They were seeking dismissal of the case and recusal by Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby for multiple alleged conflicts of interest.
The story was given prominent placement in the newscast, but one important fact was left out: One of the people named in the motion was WBAL reporter Jayne Miller, who is involved in one of the alleged conflicts of interest with Mosby's office.
Miller was never mentioned in the WBAL story reported by George Lettis, according to both the video of the newscast and a transcript posted online.
In his report, Lettis methodically went through the alleged conflict-of-interest allegations in the motion. The ones targeting Mosby range from her husband serving as City Council member from the district that became "ground zero" for protests, to her receiving campaign contributions from Billy Murphy Jr., an attorney for the Gray family.
Through a spokeswoman, Mosby declined to comment to The Sun Friday, but she had dismissed such criticism in the past.
Also: "Conflict of interest Number Two: personal ties between one of the prosecutors and the media, specifically pertaining to interviews with Donta Allen, the other man in the police van with Freddie Gray," Lettis told viewers.
What he didn't tell them is the media figure named as having "personal ties" in the motion is Miller, as a result of her relationship with Deputy State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe – a relationship that WBAL did not disclose to viewers during Miller's coverage of the case.
"Counsel for the Defendants demand that Mrs. Mosby recuse herself and her Office from the above-captioned cases in light of the inherent and overly prejudicial conflict raised by the lead prosecutor's relationship to a potential vital witness who is also a key member of the local media," the motion states.
It then goes on to name Bledsoe and Miller as the lead prosecutor and key member of the media who are "in a relationship."
WBAL's report -- by saying "personal ties between one of the prosecutors and the media" instead of Miller, the member of the media who is named -- might suggest to some viewers that the attorneys are alleging widespread conflicts of interest throughout the media.
Lettis also didn't tell viewers that the attorneys for the police officers said they might call Miller as a witness in this case – making her part of the story.
Because Miller interviewed Allen, the man in the van with Gray, the attorneys believe Miller is now a "substantive witness to an impeachment relative to the veracity and detail of Mr. Allen."
According to Sun reporter Justin Fenton's story on the motion, the attorneys say they have subpoenaed Miller's notes.
Miller is becoming more and more a part of the story, because she and the station failed to act on her conflict of interest when they should have. Given her relationship, she should never have been covering the story. Or, if she did cover it, she should have disclosed that relationship each and every time she reported on it.
See video of WBAL's Friday newscast here.
WBAL General Manager Dan Joerres declined to comment Saturday on why Miller was not mentioned in the station's Friday-night report.