(AP) The attorney for a novice crime writer jailed for refusing to surrender her interviews for a book about a Houston socialite’s murder asked an appeals court Monday to release her on bond.
Vanessa Leggett, 33, has been jailed since July 20 when a judge found her in contempt of court for refusing to turn over interviews related to the 1997 shooting death of Doris Angleton.
Leggett claimed First Amendment press protections in refusing to surrender the notes.
“Neither the prosecutor nor the court anticipated the lengthy incarceration of Ms. Leggett while her appeal was pending,” attorney Mike DeGeurin wrote in the motion filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
He asked that Leggett be freed on no more than $5,000 bond. Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Clark said he opposes the request.
Leggett could be held up to 18 months as a grand jury investigates millionaire former bookie Robert Angleton. Federal investigators began looking into Angleton after a state court acquitted him in 1998 of hiring his brother to kill his wife.
Prosecutors contend Leggett, who has not published a book or news articles, is not a journalist and does not fall under the First Amendment’s press protections.