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Reporter ordered to name source or face criminal contempt charge

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Reporter ordered to name source or face criminal contempt charge

  • A federal judge has given investigative television reporter Jim Taricani two weeks to reveal his confidential source in corruption case or face a charge of criminal contempt of court, which would result in his jailing for up to six months.

Nov. 4, 2004 — Investigative reporter Jim Taricani with WJAR-TV in Providence, R.I., could go to jail for up to six months for criminal contempt of court unless he names a confidential source by Nov. 18, a federal judge ordered Thursday.

Taricani pledged that he will go to jail instead of disclosing who gave him videotaped evidence in an FBI corruption case involving former Providence Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci Jr.

“I’ve always said if I have to go to prison, I’ll go to prison, and I stand by that,” Taricani told reporters after the hearing.

Taricani was held in civil contempt March 16. After a failed appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston (1st Cir.), Taricani began paying a $1,000-a-day fine Aug. 12. It is believed that the fines, which have topped $75,000, are being paid by a third party.

U.S. District Court Judge Ernest C. Torres stayed the fines Thursday and gave Taricani two weeks to reveal his source or face the criminal charges. Torres rejected a move by prosecutors to double the fine, saying it had not successfully compelled Taricani to testify, WJAR-TV reported.

Taricani was subpoenaed by special prosecutor Marc DeSisto in an investigation into who leaked videotaped evidence in the FBI corruption case. In February 2001, WJAR-TV aired a portion of the videotape Taricani obtained showing Providence city official Frank E. Corrente accepting a bribe from an undercover FBI informant. Both Cianci and Corrente were later convicted.

(In re special proceedings; Media Counsel: Jonathan M. Albano, Boston, Mass.) GP

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