The Aspen Times months ago published a thinly supported story suggesting that one of the local billionaires was in league with Vladimir Putin. The billionaire filed suit against the newspaper for defamation. The newspaper wanted to settle the case.
Meanwhile, the newspaper was recently bought by a family-owned group of several dozen small newspapers. Much of the family are Republicans, which may be the determinative fact in this story.
The new owners asked that the newspaper staff refrain from commenting on the pending litigation while settlement talks were ongoing. That’s standard and prudent in legal proceedings. You don’t want employees saying things that might become evidence at trial or disrupt the settlement negotiations.