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NewsNation Reporter Released From Jail Following Arrest at Ohio Governor’s Press Conference

”No journalist expects, to be arrested when you’re doing your job,“ says NewsNation’s Washington Bureau Chief Evan Lambert

NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert was released from jail in Ohio late Wednesday after he was arrested during a news conference being held by Ohio’s governor about a massive train derailment.

While he was released, Lambert said chargers of disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing against him are still pending.

He couldn’t discuss the details of the legal issues he faces, he told the station’s Ashleigh Banfield. “But what I can say is that, you know, no journalist expects to be arrested when you’re doing your job.”

“I think that’s really important that that doesn’t happen in our country,” Lambert said, noting that other countries without the same press freedoms frequently see journalists arrested. “And I’m going to continue doing it, and nothing like like this situation is going to stop me, stop us, from reporting on what people need to know.”

“That’s what it’s all about,” he added. “Protecting the First Amendment and democracy and trying to help people get information.”

The reporter, a Washington D.C.-based correspondent for the station, was doing a pre-planned live-shot hours after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was scheduled to appear at the news conference about the train accident. Lambert started to speak as the governor entered the elementary school gym where the event was held and approached the podium. Law enforcement officials then confronted him and told him to stop his report. Video shows him being pushed to the ground, cuffed, arrested and taken to a police car.

“It’s just unfortunate timing,” said NewsNation photographer Preston Swigar.

Mike Viqueira, NewsNation’s Washington Bureau chief, called the arrest a violation of the First Amendment in a statement shared with TheWrap. “As you see from the videos, he was doing his job — what hundreds of journalists do without incident — reporting to the public on a matter of urgent, critical interest to our audience.”

“As his boss, as his colleague, as a fellow journalist, it’s really infuriating,” Viqueira added.

After Lambert was arrested, DeWine insisted he was unaware of what happened beyond hearing some disagreement in the back of the gym. DeWine said that reporters “have every right” to cover his press conference.

“If someone was stopped from doing that, or told they could not do that, that was wrong,” the centrist Republican said. “It was nothing that I authorized.”

Lambert welcomed DeWine’s comments. “I appreciate him speaking out, as he said, that shouldn’t happen,” the reporter said. “I mean, obviously, I wasn’t trying to steal his thunder or anything like that, again, just trying to do our job. We didn’t even really know, we had no idea, when he was going to come up to the podium.”