LAS VEGAS (AP) — NBC News said Monday it will appeal a judge's ruling rather than include Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich in a candidates' debate in Nevada.
"We disagree with the judge's decision and are filing an appeal," said a statement provided by Jeremy Gaines, a vice president for MSNBC, sponsor of Tuesday night's debate. Gaines said the parent network would seek an immediate hearing before the Nevada Supreme Court.
Hours earlier, Senior Clark County District Court Judge Charles Thompson ruled that Kucinich, an Ohio congressman, must be allowed to participate. If he is excluded, Thompson said he would issue an injunction to stop the televised debate.
Kucinich's lawyer had argued that MSNBC at first invited him to participate, then last week reversed course and told him he could not.
A lawyer for the network said MSNBC decided to go with the top three candidates after the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries.
Thompson called it a matter of fairness and said Nevada voters will benefit by hearing from more than just top contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.
The cable network and the Democratic Party have promoted the debate as a chance for the candidates to be questioned about issues from Nevada's minority communities. Tim Russert and Brian Williams are the scheduled moderators.
Kucinich learned of the judge's decision when he was handed a note during an interview with Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto.