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Should a journalist be required to give up his sources?

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· Subscribing Member
874 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well a few years ago, there was a huge federal investigation in Providence that lead to the conviction of many providence officals, and the Mayor went to jail under federl corruption charges.

An NBC reporter got some secret tapes from someone, a video, which had been ordered byt the court not to distribute.

Well, he was ordered by the court to reveal who broke the court order and gave him the tape. He refused. He was fined $10,000 a day. He (or someone) paid. So, as seeing this as a failure, he was brought to trial today, and was convicted. Sentancing will be in December.... What do you think should happen?
Some say "He's a whitness to a crime (the crime of somone releasing info to him that was under a court order). others say "It's necessary to keep the integrity of a journalist's sources...

· Registered
113 Posts
If we had to give up our informants, we wouldn't have any.

As much as I question the media, I have to agree with VOR on this, this guy is a scapegoat. He broke no laws in accepting the tape and there was nothing that prevented the station from airing it. The reporter, Jim Tericani, had a heart transplant not long ago. Hopefully, the feds have a facility that can deal with such a medical condition.
Kudos to him for keeping his word to his source. Not many would do so when faced with the prospect of jail time.

· Senior Member
1,329 Posts
I am no fan of the media, believe me, but I do not agree with this. His sources should be kept confidential, it is only right. Maybe the courts and feds should do some more investigating instead of hanging the reporter out to dry for their own carelessness of letting something like that get out. The old saying, "don't shoot the messenger". He is doing his job as a reporter...

· Subscribing Member
930 Posts
Court papers: Joseph Bevilacqua Jr. source of videotape showing bribe
By Michael Mello, Associated Press, 12/1/2004 15:31


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) A defense lawyer for a figure in the city's corruption scandal has voluntarily identified himself as the person who gave an undercover videotape to a TV reporter who is facing jail for protecting his source, court papers filed Wednesday said.

Joseph Bevilacqua Jr., the lawyer for former city tax official Joseph Pannone, confirmed to special prosecutor Marc DeSisto on Nov. 24, that he provided the videotape to WJAR-TV reporter, Jim Taricani.

A federal judge found Taricani guilty Nov. 18 of criminal contempt for refusing to say who gave him the tape, which showed a top aide to former Providence Mayor Vincent ''Buddy'' Cianci Jr. taking a bribe.

According to court papers, Bevilacqua voluntarily came forward, appearing at DeSisto's office and testifying under oath that he was the source.

When asked during that meeting why he denied being the source when he was questioned at a deposition on Feb. 6, 2002, Bevilacqua said that Taricani did not want Bevilacqua to come forward and reveal himself.

''Mr. Bevilacqua gave Mr. Taricani his word that he would not identify himself, which is the reason why he did not come forward earlier,'' the papers said.

Taricani confirmed, through his attorney, on Tuesday that Bevilacqua was the source, and said he would provide an affadavit swearing that.

Taricani, 55, was to be sentenced next week. The court papers filed Wednesday by DeSisto were in response to Taricani's court effort to avoid jail. It was unclear whether the confirmation of the source's identity would change Taricani's fate. WJAR scheduled a news conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the latest development in the case.

DeSisto said that because Taricani ''knew or reasonably should have known'' that Bevilacqua was violating a court order and his ''apparent refusal'' to recognize Bevilacqua's waiver of ''an alleged promise of confidentiality'' should be factors in the sentencing.

''In the final analysis, even after all of his appellate challenges failed, Mr. Taricani willfully refused to comply with a valid order of the court,'' wrote Marc DeSisto.

Taricani broke now law by airing the tape in 2001, but DeSisto was appointed to find out who leaked it because the court had ordered no one to release any tapes connected to the case.

U.S. District Judge Ernest Torres has said the leak was meant to either disrupt the investigation or deprive defendants of a fair trial by influencing prospective jurors. He ordered Taricani to answer questions about the tape last fall, but Taricani refused, saying he has a First Amendment right to keep his sources confidential.

In March, the judge found Taricani in civil contempt and imposed a $1,000-a-day fine until he identified his source. WJAR, owned by NBC Universal, reimbursed Taricani $85,000 for the payments until the judge suspended the fine a month ago, saying it had not achieved its goal.

At last month's trial, Torres rejected a defense request to dismiss the case, and said it is ''a complete distortion of the issue'' to argue a First Amendment privilege.

The judge said the reporter's intent in protecting his source was not a factor in determining his guilt. ''The issue is a very simple one,'' Torres said. ''Did (the reporter) willfully violate this court's order? The evidence is clear ... and undisputed.''

The tape was aired by the NBC affiliate before trials began in the FBI's investigation into municipal corruption in Providence, code named Operation Plunder Dome. Cianci and the aide shown on tape, Frank Corrente, were convicted in summer 2002 and are now serving time in federal prisons.

Pannone also was convicted in the Plunder Dome scandal.

Taricani is one of several journalists nationwide who are locked in First Amendment battles with the government over confidential sources. That includes reporters for Time and The New York Times who have been held in contempt as part of an investigation into the disclosure of an undercover CIA officer's identity.

· Thread Killa
6,056 Posts
Some bitch!

I just saw this on The Practice...a defense lawyer divulged some information to a third party during a trial. After his client was convicted he came clean which then lead to the client being let out. The information was so damning that double jeapodary was attached.

Crazy...if this ends up this out baby
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