WAGA reporter Justin Gray was barred from a public bill signing held last week by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal because the governor’s press office was apparently upset over an unflattering story that WAGA ran the night before.
When trying to enter the signing of an immigration bill, Gray was stopped at the door by state troopers. The governor’s press secretary told Gray that he would not be allowed access until the Fox O&O retracts claims it made in an investigative report from Dale Russell.
The previous night Russell reported on large payments that Deal’s campaign made to a fundraising company run by his daughter-in-law Denise Deal. Russell found little public evidence that the company, called Southern Magnolia Capital, actually exists. Video below:
After Gray was banned from the bill signing, WAGA (Fox 5) news director Mike McClain sent a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
FOX 5 Atlanta stands by our I-Team investigation and Reporter Dale Russell. The barring of FOX 5 cameras from the bill signing today was unacceptable and obviously an emotional reaction to our I-Team investigation. We’ve voiced our concerns to the Governor’s Office and hope that they will reconsider that decision.
When reached on the phone by AJC reporter Rodney Ho, a spokesperson for Deal said that the governor’s office had blocked Gray because WAGA had run “a shoddy piece of journalism” with “lots of innuendo but no context and very little facts.”