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From the Fall 2004 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 6. The ability of journalists to protect…

From the Fall 2004 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 6.

The ability of journalists to protect their confidential sources or work product is being challenged in six federal cases. Similar cases could exist, veiled by grand jury secrecy rules. For more information about these cases please visit www.rcfp.org.


Valerie Plame Investigation &#151 Grand jury investigation into whether White House officials leaked the identity of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame to the media. Syndicated columnist Robert Novak first published her identity in July 2003 citing two unidentified senior administration officials. Later publications claimed that administration sources had shopped the story to other journalists who chose not to publish it. Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has subpoenaed at least five journalists in the investigation.

&#149 Robert Novak, columnist, Creators Syndicate. Refused to say whether he has been subpoenaed or has testified.

&#149 Glenn Kessler, The Washington Post. Gave a deposition June 22 about conversations with Lewis &#147Scooter&#148 Libby, Vice President Cheney&#146s chief of staff.

&#149 Matthew Cooper, Time magazine. Held in contempt Aug. 6. Gave a deposition about conversations with Libby, who waived confidentiality. Subpoenaed again, held in contempt again Oct. 13. $1,000-a-day fine, jail sentence; stayed pending appeal.

&#149 Tim Russert, NBC. Gave a deposition Aug. 7 about a conversation with Libby after losing bid to challenge subpoena.

&#149 Walter Pincus, The Washington Post. Gave a deposition Sept. 16 with an unnamed source&#146s permission. Refused to name source who had already identified him or herself.

&#149 Judith Miller, The New York Times. Has not testified. Held in contempt Oct. 7. $1,000-a-day fine, jail sentence; stayed pending appeal.


Lynne Stewart &#151 Trial of New York defense attorney Lynne Stewart for aiding terrorism by publicizing a client&#146s statement against court orders. Federal prosecutors subpoenaed four reporters; one testified before the prosecution rested its case. Judge John Koetel of the U.S. District Court in New York permitted the limited testimony as a &#147last resort.&#148

&#149 Esmat Salaheddin, Reuters. Testified Sept. 13 about the accuracy of published stories.

&#149 Patricia Hurtado, Newsday. Prosecutors dropped her subpoena after she argued that it would interfere with her ability to cover the trial as a court reporter.

&#149 Joseph Fried, The New York Times. Subpoenaed. Not called to testify.

&#149 George Packer, freelancer for The New York Times. Subpoenaed. Not called to testify.


Wen Ho Lee Civil Suit &#151 Former Los Alamos nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee&#146s Privacy Act suit against two federal agencies for leaks to the media about a now-refuted espionage investigation of Lee. Five reporters held in contempt Aug. 18 for refusing to testify about their sources. A sixth reporter subpoenaed, but has not yet been cited with contempt.

&#149Robert Drogin, Los Angeles Times. Held in contempt, $500-a-day fine stayed pending appeal.

&#149 H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press. Held in contempt, $500-a-day fine stayed pending appeal.

&#149 Jeff Gerth, The New York Times. Held in contempt, $500-a-day fine stayed pending appeal.

&#149 James Risen, The New York Times. Held in contempt, $500-a-day fine stayed pending appeal.

&#149 Pierre Thomas, formerly CNN, now ABC News. Held in contempt, $500-a-day fine stayed pending appeal.

&#149 Walter Pincus, The Washington Post. Subpoenaed but refused to disclose sources. Judge ordered him to testify. Not yet held in contempt.


Providence, R.I. &#151 Grand jury investigation into allegations of corruption involving Providence, R.I., officials. Marc DeSito, a private attorney appointed as a special prosecutor to investigate leaks from the grand jury, subpoenaed investigative reporter Jim Taricani of WJAR television to testify. Taricani refused; held in contempt.

&#149 Jim Taricani, WJAR-TV, Providence, R.I. His $1,000-a-day fine for refusing to reveal a confidential source has topped $75,000.


Global Relief Foundation &#151 Chicago grand jury investigation into the leak of a planned FBI raid on an Islamic charity suspected of funding terrorism. Representatives of the charity have said they were tipped off by reporters calling for comment before the raid. U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald subpoenaed the telephone records of two New York Times reporters. It is unknown whether he has obtained the records. The Times filed a lawsuit Sept. 28 to block the subpoena.

&#149 Judith Miller, The New York Times. Filed a lawsuit to block subpoena of her phone records.

&#149 Philip Shenon, The New York Times. Filed a lawsuit to block subpoena of his phone records.


BALCO &#151 San Francisco grand jury investigation into alleged illegal steroid distribution by BALCO &#151 Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative &#151 a nutritional supplement company. After repeated leaks of confidential information, federal prosecutors asked five reporters to return leaked materials and disclose their confidential sources. All declined. As of late October, no subpoenas have been issued.

&#149 Sean Webby, San Jose Mercury News. Received a letter requesting the identity of confidential sources Aug 25; declined to cooperate.

&#149 Elliot Almond, San Jose Mercury News. Received a letter requesting the identity of confidential sources Aug 25; declined to cooperate.

&#149 Henry Lee, San Francisco Chronicle. Received a letter requesting the identity of confidential sources July 28; declined to cooperate.

&#149 Lance Williams, San Francisco Chronicle. Received a letter requesting the identity of confidential sources July 29; declined to cooperate.

&#149 Mark Fainaru-Wada, San Francisco Chronicle. Received a letter requesting the identity of confidential sources July 29; declined to cooperate.