An Emmy Award-winning journalist at a Denver television station has quit her job after receiving death threats, Mediaite reports.
Heidi Hemmat explained her departure from KDVR Fox 31 in a letter posted to her website Thursday.
In a piece titled, Why I left KDVR and TV news, Hemmat details the downright terrifying reason for her decision.
After a four-part investigative piece on a Denver businessmans alleged dumping of customers documents that held their personal information and other alleged misdeeds, consumer fraud charges were filed against the subject of Hemmats story.
Shortly after he learned about the charges against him, that were a direct result of me, I got a call from his psychiatrist, Hemmat writes on her website. She told me he was homicidal and was planning to kill me. The psychiatrist thought the threat was so credible, she broke HPPA laws (the laws that protect medical records of psychos, such as the theater shooter — James Holmes) to warn me.
Following the reported threat, Hemmat said KDVR paid for personal security at her home, but says the station expressed concern over the cost of the undercover Denver police officers and ended the private protection.
According to Hemmats KDVR report, Muhammed Murib was charged with fraud after allegedly charging people for unnecessary parts through his business, AAAA TV Electronics Repair and Vacuum.
Murib was ordered to close his repair shop, although the business could still sell new merchandise.
The report also revealed a 1993 case filed by the Denver district attorney in which Murib, who owned American Vacuum, Sewing and Typewriter at the time, was charged with 18 counts of consumer fraud. He pleaded guilty in that case and reopened a new business, according to KDVR.
As the 2015 case against Murib continued, Hemmat says her supervisors expected her to cover every new development regarding the alleged fraud. She says she resisted, was overruled, and continued to fear for her life.
I knew I couldnt keep ambushing people who did bad things to other people, she said in her web post. Society has changed. People have changed. My physical and mental health were unraveling. As soon as that ratings period ended I took an unpaid leave of absence, and in August I asked to be let out of my contract.
Hemmat says it feels good to finally reveal her reasons for leaving journalism, and that she feels like she can be a mom to her two young children without doing anything unsafe in the name of journalism.