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Ore. activist won't have to give grand jury tape of rally arrest

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
An Oregon videographer is off the hook after prosecutors backed off their bid for unpublished segments of a tape he shot at…

An Oregon videographer is off the hook after prosecutors backed off their bid for unpublished segments of a tape he shot at a rally, which they had planned to present to a grand jury, according to The [Eugene] Register Guard.

Tim Lewis invoked the state shield law in court papers filed before a hearing set for Tuesday, only to have prosecutors withdraw their subpoena for video he shot at a May 30 rally in Eugene. In the aftermath of the protest, The Register Guard reports, the grand jury is "sorting through claims against protesters and police" including allegations of excessive force.

Lewis enlisted the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon in prepping his legal stand under the shield law. In stepping away from the subpoena, Chief Deputy Lane County District Attorney Alex Gardner told The Register Guard the state was conceding no ground on Lewis’s claim of a reporter’s privilege.

"We’re just not addressing it," Gardner told the paper. But perhaps, he added, now that Lewis is no longer obliged to hand over the tape, maybe he’ll do it of his own accord to help the grand jury in its inquiry.

Lewis, The Register Guard relayed, "does not want to set a bad precedent for independent journalists and probably will continue to invoke the media shield law."