Author Topic: Court Says Reporter Must Testify in Leak Case  (Read 560 times)

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Offline happyg

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Court Says Reporter Must Testify in Leak Case
« on: July 20, 2013, 09:27:04 AM »
A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that a New York Times journalist must testify in a high-profile government leak case, saying journalists do not have special free speech protections.
The ruling by the Richmond, Virginia-based Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is a victory for the Obama administration, but it could hurt efforts by Attorney General Eric Holder to improve relations with the media. The Justice Department last week pledged to tighten its criteria for targeting journalists in leak cases.

Two other cases this year sparked a media outcry that the Justice Department had been overzealous in investigating government leaks and had infringed on free speech rights.

Prosecutors sought the testimony of reporter James Risen, author of a book, "State of War," that contained information the government believed was leaked by former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.

In 2010, Sterling was indicted on 10 charges relating to Risen's book, including unauthorized retention and communication of national defense information.

The following year, Holder authorized the Justice Department to issue a subpoena seeking Risen's testimony. Risen challenged the subpoena, saying he could not be compelled to testify under the First Amendment and federal common law.

A three-judge panel ruled Friday there is no "reporter's privilege" under the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech, meaning journalists do not receive special treatment.

"The reporter must appear and give testimony just as every other citizen must," wrote Chief Judge William Traxler. "We are not at liberty to conclude otherwise."

Judge Roger Gregory dissented, pointing out that the law is not clear on the issue. Some courts have found in the past that there are instances in which reporters can invoke a "qualified privilege," which means they can refuse to testify.

"The paramount importance of the free press guaranteed by our Constitution compels me to conclude that the First Amendment encompasses a qualified reporter's privilege," Gregory wrote.

Risen's attorney, Joel Kurtzberg, said he was disappointed with the ruling and that he and his client were "evaluating our next steps." A spokesman said the Justice Department agreed with the decision and was considering how to proceed.

David Anderson, an expert in media law at the University of Texas at Austin, said the ruling was consistent with recent rulings in similar cases, which have indicated "a hardening of the judicial arteries toward the press."

If Risen refuses to testify, he will almost certainly face imprisonment and "had better pack his toothbrush," he said.

Theodore Boutrous, a lawyer in Los Angeles who has represented journalists in similar cases, said the ruling should prompt the Justice Department to back down on its request that Risen testify.

"One would hope they would look at this situation anew," he said.

 

MEDIA OUTCRY

Various media organizations, including Reuters America LLC, which is owned by Thomson Reuters Corp, joined a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Risen.

Congress is considering a new media shield law, backed by President Barack Obama, that would enshrine legal protections for journalists. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill next week.

Friday's ruling came one week after the Justice Department issued new guidelines that would curb the ability of prosecutors to seize reporters' records when investigating leaks.

In a recent case, prosecutors obtained a warrant to search Fox News correspondent James Rosen's emails. He was named a "co-conspirator" in a federal leaks probe involving his reporting on North Korea.

In another case, the Justice Department seized Associated Press phone records as part of a probe into leaks about a 2012 Yemen-based plot to bomb a U.S. airliner.


http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/court-reporter-testify-leaks/2013/07/19/id/516083#ixzz2ZalWUdxr
 

Offline flowers

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Re: Court Says Reporter Must Testify in Leak Case
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2013, 11:21:40 AM »
This is a good day for Holder and obama. Now reporters must testify.  :smokin:


Offline Cincinnatus

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Re: Court Says Reporter Must Testify in Leak Case
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2013, 03:34:12 PM »
Funniest line of the day: it could hurt efforts by Attorney General Eric Holder to improve relations with the media

As if the "media" could be hurt by anything Obama & Co would do.
We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid ~~ Samuel Adams

Offline GourmetDan

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Re: Court Says Reporter Must Testify in Leak Case
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2013, 04:52:47 PM »
This is a good day for Holder and obama. Now reporters must testify.

I would 'take the Fifth' ,a la the IRS, whether you believe was true or not.

You never know what laws may exist that you may have broken...




« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 04:53:35 PM by GourmetDan »
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Offline Oceander

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Re: Court Says Reporter Must Testify in Leak Case
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2013, 07:50:42 PM »
I think I would side with the majority in this case; present law, and the First Amendment itself, do not plausibly contain a privilege for reporters beyond that enshrined in the Fifth Amendment and, presumably, we're not talking about self-incrimination here.  As to the concept of a qualified privilege for reporters:  who is a "reporter"?  How is that term defined and how do we decide who is, and more importantly, who is not, a "reporter"?  That is something best left to Congress or, at the least, the Supreme Court.

Offline Once-Ler

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Re: Court Says Reporter Must Testify in Leak Case
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2013, 03:07:47 AM »
Better put some ice on that, Media. 
You know you wanted it.
"Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."  -  President Donald J Trump

Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!.....
...They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own - brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security
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Offline Oceander

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Re: Court Says Reporter Must Testify in Leak Case
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2013, 09:37:16 AM »
Better put some ice on that, Media. 
You know you wanted it.

:bigsilly:


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