A California judge subpoenaed Washington Times reporter William Gertz in May over suspected grand jury leaks in a Chinese espionage case. Now, if Gertz refuses to divulge his sources, as he’s indicated he will do, the judge wants him to appear in court and say why.
The New York Sun details the concerns of free-press advocates about the implications of Judge Cormac Carney’s request. The judge wants Gertz to attest to the newsworthiness of the case, The Sun reports, and explain why confidential sources are so crucial to his investigative reporting. Particularly unusual in this case is the judge’s apparent role as both questioner and arbiter, being that it was Carney who issued the subpoena and will, it seems, question the reporter.
Gertz’s attorney, Charles Leeper, though, told The Sun he does not expect the judge will launch a broad inquiry there in the courtroom into the reporter’s newsgathering techniques. Leeper said Gertz will appear in court, as requested, next week.