James Holmes court case update: University of Colorado releases thousands of emails regarding Holmes

AURORA, Colo. - The University of Colorado released thousands of documents regarding former graduate student James Holmes, the accused killer in the Aurora movie theater shooting.

The records release to 7NEWS and several other news organizations on Wednesday afternoon contains as many as 5,000 emails that contain Holmes' name, including emails sent to and from the former neuroscience graduate student's two university email accounts.

In a letter to 7NEWS reporter Keli Rabon, a CU attorney said the university had found 3,272 original emails regarding Holmes during a search of its email servers. The university is releasing 2,300 of those emails. CU is withholding the rest of the emails, saying they are protected from disclosure under various privacy and criminal justice records laws.

A separate search of Holmes' email accounts generated 2,700 emails and the university is releasing nearly 1,500 of those, saying the rest are protected from disclosure under privacy laws.

That would make a total of about 5,000 emails that were made public Wednesday, but there could be duplication of emails between those recovered from campus computer servers and Holmes' email accounts.

After Holmes allegedly opened fire into a packed theater on July 20 -- killing 12 people and injuring 58 others -- Arapahoe County District Court Judge William Sylvester issued a gag order restricting what law enforcement agencies and defense attorneys and other entities could say and what documents they could make public about the case.

CU officials decided the gag order applied to the university because, at the time of the shooting, the 24-year-old Holmes attended the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. Holmes was also a patient of CU psychiatrist Dr. Lynne Fenton, who reported to campus police she had concerns about Holmes six weeks before the shooting.

Last month, the judge ruled that the university could release documents it deems public under the Colorado Open Records Act.

CU said it is releasing the voluminous emails to 7NEWS and 11 other news organizations that filed open records requests at a total cost of $3,154. The university said the cost includes 117 hours of employee time to review -- and redact some information -- from the emails and the electronic sorting to produce the emails.

Each news organization will be charged $262.88 for its share of the cost.