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Prosecutors request information from Times on former reporter

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Prosecutors request information from Times on former reporter

  • No subpoena has been served on the newspaper, but an informal request regarding former reporter Jayson Blair was made.

May 14, 2003 — Manhattan prosecutors have requested information from The New York Times regarding former reporter Jayson Blair, the newspaper reported today.

A spokeswoman for the newspaper, Catherine J. Mathis, was reported as saying that the Times had not been subpoenaed but that federal prosecutors had informally requested information in an attempt to determine whether Blair’s conduct had violated any laws.

Blair, who reported for the Times for almost four years, was found to have systematically plagiarized or fabricated material in his reports. Blair resigned from the Times on May 1.

A lengthy report on the deception in Sunday’s edition of the Times described Blair’s activities as a “profound betrayal of trust” and said Blair “misled readers and Times colleagues with dispatches that purported to be from Maryland, Texas and other states, when often he was far away, in New York. He fabricated comments. He concocted scenes. He lifted material from other newspapers and wire services. He selected details from photographs to create the impression he had been somewhere or seen someone, when he had not.”

Authorities have not disclosed what laws Blair may have violated. Mathis said the Times had not asked prosecutors to investigate Blair.

According to the Times report, Mathis said that the newspaper has not responded to the request for information. “As a matter of policy and consistent practice, the Times does not voluntarily provide documents or testimony that we believe to be protected by the First Amendment,” she said, according to the Times.


© 2003 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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