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Utah newspaper fights subpoena for reporter's testimony

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
A Utah newspaper is fighting the subpoena of a reporter who wrote about a sealed search warrant in a murder…

A Utah newspaper is fighting the subpoena of a reporter who wrote about a sealed search warrant in a murder investigation before it was sealed, The Deseret News reported.

Deseret News reporter Pat Reavy based a Jan. 20 story on search warrants that he obtained the day before through a successful public records request. Two days after the story was published, prosecutors filed a motion to have all warrants in the case sealed.

Prosecutors subpoenaed Reavy on March 15 to ask him about "his decision to publish the contents of our sealed search warrant" despite the fact his story ran before the warrants were sealed, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

"Under the First Amendment, decisions about what is published in newspapers are left to editors, not to the government," Jeffrey Hunt, the newspaper’s attorney, told the Deseret News, noting that Reavy reported from a warrant given to him voluntarily by the police.