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Reporter William J. Kelly Issues Cease-and-Desist to Mayor Lightfoot

Mayor Lightfoot receives cease and desist letter after barring Chicago reporter William J. Kelly from press conference

Kelly's tough questions to Lightfoot on crime have regularly gone viral

Chicago, IL, August 2, 2022 - Chicago reporter William J. Kelly sent Mayor Lori Lightfoot a cease-and-desist letter Monday after she barred him from a recent City Hall press conference on crime. Kelly's questions to Lightfoot on violent crime have regularly gone viral on social media and news websites with millions of views. 

According to a letter from Kelly's attorney, "My office was retained by Mr. William J. Kelly (“Mr. Kelly”) with respect to an incident on July 20, 2022, during which he was denied access to your press briefing based upon the content of his speech. As you are well aware, Mr. Kelly is a credentialed journalist and an Emmy award winning producer... The consequence of your administration’s unlawful interference with Mr. Kelly’s rights was not limited to Mr. Kelly. The citizens of the City of Chicago were deprived of the information that would have been elicited by Mr. Kelly’s pointed and insightful questions."  

On July 20, 2022, despite having a valid credential, a member of Mayor Lightfoot's security detail, Officer Rivera, accused Kelly of presenting a "doctored" credential. Another security officer, Officer Brkovic glanced at Kelly's credential and said, “you can’t go up, that credential is expired.” Kelly's attorney, Patrick Walsh, says his client was stunned. "No officer could, in good faith, look at the large, fluorescent yellow sticker stating “JUNE 2024” and claim the credential was expired. It was by then apparent to Mr. Kelly that his First Amendment rights were being interfered with based on his political speech and association." Kelly has proof from the Chicago Police Department that his credential was valid and properly updated. 

According to Kelly's attorney, this isn't the first time Lightfoot's administration has interfered with Mr. Kelly’s constitutional rights or attempted to prevent him from “newsgathering.” "Your [Mayor Lightfoot's] administration is clearly engaged in a concerted effort to silence Mr. Kelly’s questions over Chicago’s rampant violent crime, carjackings, declining tourism and conventions, increase in police suicides, and surging crime epidemic in Chicago’s downtown and retail corridor," writes Walsh in the letter. 

Walsh says his client' s reporting not only causes intense scrutiny of Lightfoot's administration with respect to unchecked violent crime, "but the videos of his interactions with you garner millions of views on news and social channels. For instance, In April, Kelly appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight after going viral by asking Lightfoot how she could possibly consider running for re-election "after all the harm she's caused." The video, now viral with millions of views, has been seen on Fox News, Daily Mail UK, Newsweek, MSN, the Independent, Forbes, Washington Examiner, RedState, Twitchy, The Blaze and hundreds of other news outlets.

Kelly's cease-and-desist letter demands that City of Chicago acknowledge the validity of Mr. Kelly’s media credentials within forty-eight hours and that his credentials were valid on July 20, 2022 otherwise an emergency motion for temporary restraining order will be filed against Mayor Lightfoot to enforce Kelly's constitutional rights.


Paid for by Citizens for William J. Kelly
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