Even as the Las Vegas Review-Journal said it will cooperate with a narrowed subpoena from federal prosecutors for information about two anonymous comments left below an online news story, the ACLU announced it would seek to quash the subpoenas on behalf of the commenters, the paper reported last week.
The newspaper resisted an earlier subpoena that sought information about more than 100 comments posted to the story. The paper’s reporting on a tax evasion trial in federal court had attracted a great deal of online comments, some of which derided the prosecutor in the case. That same prosecutor signed the original subpoena seeking identifying information about everyone who had commented on the story.
The new subpoena is signed by a different prosecutor and only seeks information about two specific comments. According to the paper, those comments might be construed as threatening toward members of the jury or prosecutors in the case.
"I’d hate to be the guy who refused to tell the feds Timothy McVeigh was buying fertilizer," Review-Journal Editor Thomas Mitchell told the paper, referring to the man responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada filed a separate motion to quash the subpoena in an effort to prevent any identifying information from being turned over to prosecutors, the newspaper reported.