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Judge in Libby, Locy cases favors limited shield law

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, who presided over the "Scooter" Libby leak case and once held a USA Today…

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, who presided over the "Scooter" Libby leak case and once held a USA Today reporter in contempt, said journalists should have a limited protection for their sources in the courtroom, The Associated Press reported Saturday.

At an American Bar Association panel in Chicago, Walton said an unlimited shield law would be dangerous, but that courts should not be allowed to access reporters’ sources in a "willy nilly" manner, the AP said.

Walton has experience in high-profile cases involving the reporter’s privilege. The Libby trial was preceded by a grand jury investigation resulting in the jailing of New York Times reporter Judith Miller, although Walton was not the judge who held her in contempt. In a case involving the government’s investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks, Walton imposed massive fines on former USA Today reporter Toni Locy when she refused to revealed her sources. His contempt order against Locy was eventually vacated as moot after the underlying case was settled.