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Sixth Circuit denies Ashenfelter's appeal

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati (6th Circuit) has denied Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter’s petition to suspend…

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati (6th Circuit) has denied Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter’s petition to suspend a district court judge’s order that he be deposed.

Ashenfelter is scheduled for an April 21 deposition in a Privacy Act lawsuit brought by former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino against the Department of Justice. Convertino is seeking the confidential sources Ashenfelter used to report about an investigation into Convertino’s alleged misconduct during a post-Sept. 11 terrorism trial.

Ashenfelter invoked the Fifth Amendment right to be free from self-incrimination at a December deposition, but U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland ordered that the reporter needed to first explain his reasons for doing so. Cleland scheduled another deposition for April 21.

Last week, Ashenfelter asked the circuit court to prevent the district court from deposing him, pending resolution of his appeal.

In a two-page order, the appellate court ruled that Ashenfelter’s case did not present an “extraordinary” situation that would warrant its stepping in before the deposition.