Attorneys for former USA Today reporter Toni Locy will ask a federal appeals court today for a stay of a contempt order for failing to cooperate in former Army scientist Steven J. Hatfill’s Privacy Act suit against the government.
The emergency request to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., comes after U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton on Friday ordered Locy to begin paying fines of up to $5,000 per day out of her own pocket for as long as she refuses to identify her sources. He also refused to stay his own order pending appeal, finding that she is unlikely to prevail.
As of midnight Tuesday, Locy will be fined $500 a day for seven days, $1,000 a day for the following seven days, and $5,000 a day for the seven days after that. In all, she could accumulate $45,500 in fines over the 21-day period. Walton scheduled a hearing for April 3 to consider additional action to compel Locy’s compliance.
Locy was one of five reporters Hatfill subpoenaed while trying to track down anonymous government sources who had identified him as a "person of interest" in the investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks. Without identifying the source of those disclosures, Walton said, Hatfill cannot proceed with his suit against the government for releasing information about the investigation.
Since being subpoenaed, Locy has maintained that she does not remember the specific sources who identified Hatfill, but rather only a catalog of those who offered her information about the investigation generally.