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Marine acquitted without reporter's testimony

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
Despite a court order, a San Diego reporter has managed to avoid testifying in the court martial of a Marine…

Despite a court order, a San Diego reporter has managed to avoid testifying in the court martial of a Marine he interviewed who was subsequently brought up on disobedience charges for speaking with the press.

The Marine, Pvt. Gary Maziarz, was acquitted last week in a hearing at Camp Pendleton. He was accused of defying orders by speaking with reporter Rick Rogers about his involvement in a plot to steal and pass on classified military information, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Maziarz’s defense team had subpoenaed the reporter about his contacts with Maziarz that led to the interview.

Rogers, a Union-Tribune reporter, had invoked the California shield law and First Amendment in an attempt to avoid being compelled to testify. The military judge rejected Rogers’s privilege claim, saying the defendant’s rights prevailed over the shield because the information sought was not confidential and could be provided by no other source.

Yet when the court-martial hearing actually commenced, the Union-Tribune reports, Rogers was not called to testify. The judge said the fact that Maziarz’s attorney had condoned the interview was enough to decide the Marine should be acquitted.