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CBS turns over Kevorkian videotape to prosecutors

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
CBS turns over Kevorkian videotape to prosecutors 12/14/98 MICHIGAN--CBS voluntarily complied with a prosecutor's subpoena on November 24 for the…

CBS turns over Kevorkian videotape to prosecutors


MICHIGAN–CBS voluntarily complied with a prosecutor’s subpoena on November 24 for the unedited version of a videotape purporting to show Dr. Jack Kevorkian administering a lethal injection of potassium chloride to a patient, according to a network spokesman.

The nationally aired November 22 episode of CBS’s “60 Minutes” described Kevorkian’s delivery of the fatal injection to 52-year-old Thomas Youk, who had Lou Gehrig’s disease. Edited portions of the tape, made by Kevorkian, were shown.

Kevorkian, an outspoken advocate of assisted suicide, freely admitted administering the injection, and the aired footage included Youk’s apparent consent to the injection, along with the moment of death. According to the Associated Press and The Philadelphia Inquirer, the unedited videotape contained additional footage of Youk speaking about his suffering and the pain that accompanied his condition.

County prosecutor David Gorcyca in Pontiac stated at a press conference held the day after the “60 Minutes” piece aired that he would not make a decision regarding whether to charge Kevorkian with any crimes until after viewing the unedited videotape. At his attorney’s request, Kevorkian did not turn over an unedited version of the videotape that was in his possession.

CBS “60 Minutes” reporter Mike Wallace told The New York Times that the network complied with Gorcyca’s subpoena voluntarily because the videotape belonged to Kevorkian, and Kevorkian wanted it to be turned over to the prosecution. CBS spokesman Kevin Tedesco told the Detroit Free Press that Gorcyca’s request for the videotape was being honored because there was “no issue of source confidentiality.”

On November 25, Gorcyca brought first-degree murder charges against Kevorkian.