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Court Rules Reporter Had Right to Stay Quiet On Source

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently ruled that a reporter didn't have to disclose the identity of a confidential source for  a 2004 story about a federal ethics investigation into a former U.S. attorney, MLive's Khalil AlHajal reports.

David Ashenfelter, who at the time was a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, wrote a story about how then-Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino handled a terrorism case in which the two defendants later had their convictions overturned. Convertino has pursued a Privacy Act Claim, claiming he was punished by the leak about the federal ethics investigation into him.

When Ashenfelter was deposed in Convertino's suit, Ashenfelter asserted a Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination. The Sixth Circuit agreed that he couldn't be compelled to expose his confidential sources due to '"the possibility of prosecution."'