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Former prosecutor pushes to get newspaper in court

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
Former U.S. prosecutor Richard Convertino insisted in papers filed Tuesday that the Detroit Free Press must testify in his Privacy…

Former U.S. prosecutor Richard Convertino insisted in papers filed Tuesday that the Detroit Free Press must testify in his Privacy Act lawsuit over a leak from the Department of Justice.

Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter has successfully asserted the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying about his sources. The newspaper has argued that because none of its editors knows the identify of his sources, there is no reason to force the paper to put forward a representative to testify.

Convertino argues that the Free Press must appoint someone to testify about what the newspaper knows about Ashenfelter’s sources. This includes, Convertino claims, any of Ashenfelter’s e-mail messages and notes relating to stories about Convertino. He argues that even if Ashenfelter is currently in possession of those documents, they belong to the Free Press.

Convertino dismisses the Free Press‘s claim that his subpoena is too broad in that it seeks information relating to all stories about Convertino when only one story is at issue. Convertino says the scope of his lawsuit is wider than one story, and that he is entitled to any information that might lead him to the source of the leak.

Attorney Leslie P. Machado, who is representing the Free Press, said he has been given until June 22 to reply to Convertino’s latest arguments.