|NMU||ARKANSAS||Confidentiality/Privilege||Mar 11, 2002|
Judge orders two reporters to testify for criminal defendant
- A former county prosecutor who is accused of trying to defraud the state argued that reporters’ testimony would help prove that his political foes used the media to wage a smear campaign against him.
A judge ordered two Arkansas newspaper reporters to testify in the criminal trial of a former county prosecutor who claims his political enemies conspired to use the media against him.
U.S. District Judge James Moody in Little Rock ruled on March 4 that Sandy Davis, a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , would have to appear in court and testify or “suffer the consequences.” Moody also ordered Angelia Roberts, a reporter for the Batesville Daily Guard , to testify in the trial of T.J. Hively.
Both reporters had written stories about Hively’s activities while he was in office.
Moody told the reporters that their testimony was relevant to Hively’s defense and that they would not be asked to reveal confidential sources.
Hively, who is accused of trying to defraud the state by overbilling for services his office did not perform, claims his political opponents used the media to wage a smear campaign against him, resulting in the charges against him.
Davis took the stand on March 7 and answered questions that Hively had presented to the judge, said Philip Anderson, her attorney. Hively’s attorney asked whether Davis was present at specific places on certain days and if other news media representatives were with her.
Roberts said she was never called to the stand.
(United States v. Hively; Davis’ counsel: Philip Anderson and Jess Askew III, Little Rock; Roberts’ counsel: John Tull, Little Rock) — MD
© 2002 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press