(AP) A federal judge reluctantly granted a brief delay Wednesday afternoon in ordering two reporters to jail for refusing to disclose their sources in the leak of a CIA officer’s identity.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan said that reporters Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine had both said they wouldn’t comply with the court’s order to reveal confidential sources.
Hogan said he would rule next Wednesday on the fate of Miller and Cooper, following courtroom arguments from lawyers for the reporters on why their clients should not be ordered to jail.
The judge expressed skepticism that any new arguments would change his mind.
“It’s curiouser and curiouser; I don’t understand” why the reporters are asking for more time, Hogan said.
Hogan held the reporters in contempt last fall, and an appeals court rejected their argument that the First Amendment shielded them from revealing their sources. On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to consider the case.
Time magazine’s lawyers said that the company is considering turning over documents sought by the grand jury, a step that Cooper said he hopes the magazine does not take.
[This scenario was first reported by E&P on Tuesday.]
Fitzgerald said that the documents are Cooper’s notes of his interviews.
”On balance, I think I’d prefer they not turn over the documents but Time can make that decision for itself,” Cooper said outside the courthouse.
Theodore Boutrous, an attorney representing Time magazine, told the judge, ”We don’t want to reargue this case.”
The magazine hopes to ”avoid this crisis and journalists going to jail,” Boutrous added.
Robert Bennett, representing Miller, told the judge in asking for more time that ”it’s a big step to put two people in jail who have committed no crimes.”
After Hogan held Miller, Cooper and the magazine in contempt, an appeals court rejected their argument that the First Amendment shielded them from revealing their sources. On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to consider the case.
Expressing his impatience, Hogan said, ”It seems to me the time has come.”
”Much more delay and we will be at the end of the grand jury,” Hogan said.
The grand jury investigating the leak expires in October and the reporters, if in jail, would be freed at that time.