Judge Tosses Subpoena for Mississippi Reporter Jerry Mitchell in Civil Rights Case

By: U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate on Monday tossed out a subpoena that U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales personally authorized for prosecutors in the trial of reputed Ku Klux Klansman James Ford Seale.

The subpoena sought testimony from Jerry Mitchell, a reporter for The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, about an interview he conducted with Seale seven years ago.

Seale, now 71, is being tried on federal kidnapping and conspiracy charges tied to the May 2, 1964, attacks on two black 19-year-olds in southwest Mississippi. He has pleaded not guilty.

In an article published Jan. 23, 2000, Mitchell wrote that in response to a question about the attacks on Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore, Seale said: "I ain't in jail, am I?"

The Clarion-Ledger fought the subpoena, and Wingate said he wasn't persuaded by prosecutors' arguments that it was necessary to make the reporter testify.

U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton said Gonzales on Monday gave prosecutors permission to issue the subpoena.

Seale has denied belonging to the Klan, but several witnesses have testified that they knew he was in the secretive white supremacist group.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here