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Judge Wants CBS To Release List Of Shareholders

March 15, 1985

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ CBS Inc. must provide a list of shareholders to a stockholder who is also a supporter of Fairness in Media, the conservative group hoping to gain control of the network, a federal judge has said.

During a pretrial conference in U.S. District Court in New York City on Thursday, Judge William C. Conner also said CBS was ″entitled to explore if there is a connection″ between the group and media magnate Ted Turner.

Fairness in Media and U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., have charged that CBS is biased in its news coverage and are urging conservatives to buy CBS stock to take control of the network. CBS has charged there is a connection between the group’s campaign and reports that Turner is investigating a CBS takeover by his Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting Co.

Conner left standing a subpoena issued to Turner, who is to give a deposition to CBS lawyers Monday. Fairness in Media lawyers had asked that all depositions in the case be stayed until Conner ruled on a motion to dismiss CBS’ lawsuit.

CBS filed suit in New York last month against the group, its primary officials and several organizations operated by those officials. Those named as defendants include Raleigh lawyers Thomas F. Ellis and James P. Cain, and R.E. Carter Wrenn, executive director of Helms’ National Congressional Club. Ellis is the club’s chairman.

Ellis, Cain and Hoover Adams were to be interviewed today by CBS lawyers in New York, The News and Observer of Raleigh reported in today’s editions. CBS’ suit alleges violations of security laws and maintains that the Fairness in Media effort is part of a political operation led by Helms.

The suit asked Conner to issue an order that would let CBS deny the group access to a shareholders’ list that could be used in a proxy solicitation. After CBS filed its suit, Adams, a Dunn publisher and CBS stockholder who supports Fairness in Media, sued the network in New York state court seeking the shareholders list under New York corporation law.

Conner on Thursday said that legally CBS had ″no choice″ but to give access to its shareholder list to Adams. The judges urged the two sides to work out the conditions for granting the access.

On Wednesday, Fairness in Media lawyers asked Conner to dismiss the CBS suit, alleging its ″obvious purpose is to tie up defendants in litigation and keep them from communicating with CBS shareholders.″

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