‘Miami Herald’ Writer in Hot Water With Feds

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By: E&P Staff

Federal prosecutors are seeking criminal contempt of court charges against Ana Veciana-Suarez, a longtime Miami Herald writer, not in any leak investigation, but because she allegedly failed to disclose her father’s past conviction during jury selection for a 2003 civil trial.

Magistrate Judge Stephen T. Brown issued the order last week after the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a criminal contempt of court petition, the Herald revealed today.

The petition charges that Veciana-Suarez ”obstructed the administration of justice and disobeyed the court by willfully and contrary to her oath failing to truthfully respond to inquiries” during jury selection before the 2003 federal trial. She ended up serving as a juror.

The possible charge is a misdemeanor violation carrying a possible six-month jail term. Her attorney, William Clay, said she plans to admit she erred in failing to disclose the information about her father.
”She is very, very remorseful and embarrassed by her conduct,” Clay told the Herald.

”In spite of her conduct in not disclosing this information, she was a fair and open-minded juror in the case. She had no bias against either party,” the attorney said.

Executive Editor Tom Fiedler said, in the Herald story, that company officials were aware of the contempt of court petition filed against Veciana-Suarez. ”Ana has kept the newspaper fully apprised about this legal proceeding, which has not yet reached its conclusion,” Fiedler said. “Until then, it is premature for us to take any action affecting her assignment as a columnist and staff writer.”

In the federal civil trial, the Herald related, the jurors awarded an $8.3 million civil judgment to a fired Brinks’ courier in October 2003.

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