Reporter Ken Ritter in Las Vegas opened up an email from a trusted lawyer that offered little more than a link to a courthouse video that was circulating on a local courts blog and a question: Have you seen this? Several minutes into the video, a defendant leaped over a table and the judge’s bench and attacked her. It happened after the defendant tried to convince the judge that he was turning from his violent past and after she hinted he would get prison time nonetheless. 

Quick action by Ritter, Las Vegas videographer Ty O’Neil and Las Vegas reporter Rio Yamat allowed the AP to confirm more information, including the defendant’s name, from a court supervising bailiff, provide more context from the case itself and from witnesses, get clearance of the video from the court and detail the events of the video for publication. 

The story with the customer-ready video linked was No. 3 on the APNews site, outpaced only by the Iowa shooting and Epstein documents. The video had more than 17,000 views on Instagram — by far the most of any posting on AP’s Instagram page in 2024. A day after the attack, the court said it would investigate revising its security in courtrooms.