(AP) An Associated Press reporter refused to disclose his sources Wednesday despite a federal judge’s order to do so for a lawsuit against the government by Wen Ho Lee, a former nuclear weapons scientist once suspected of spying.
H. Josef Hebert was deposed for 2 1/2 hours by Lee’s lawyers and repeatedly was asked to disclose sources for stories about Lee, according to Hebert’s lawyer, Lee Levine. The deposition took place at the offices of Lee’s attorneys.
Lee is suing the departments of Energy and Justice, alleging they provided private information on him to reporters and suggested he was a suspect in an investigation into possible theft of secrets from Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico. All but one of 59 counts against Lee eventually were dismissed and then-President Clinton apologized for Lee’s treatment.
Lee is seeking reporters’ notes and other documents to argue his case against the government. The case is seen as a test of a reporter’s right to protect sources.
Last month, New York Times reporters Jeff Gerth and James Risen also refused to reveal their sources.
Reporter Robert Drogin of the Los Angeles Times and former CNN reporter Pierre Thomas are scheduled to give depositions Thursday. Both plan to protect their sources, according to their lawyers.
Thomas is represented by Charles Tobin. Drogin’s lawyer is the same as Hebert’s.
The reporters could face jail time if they are found in contempt of court for not revealing their sources.