Thursday, March 30, 2017

California man who refused to remove blog posts outing FBI informants arrested

Federal authorities have arrested California resident Gary Hunt after he failed to show up in U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown's courtroom this month to explain why he shouldn't be held in civil contempt for not removing from his blog information about informants the FBI used in its investigation of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Hunt, taken into custody in northern California Thursday on a warrant issued by Brown, is expected to be transferred to federal court in Oregon soon to attend what's called a show cause hearing before the judge. The judge, in an order unsealed after Hunt's arrest, wrote that it was   "necessary to issue a warrant for Hunt's arrest in order to bring him before this Court for his failure to appear at the show-cause hearing and to adjudicate civil contempt hearings'' as to the government's allegations that he violated a court's protective order. Hunt, who lives in Northern California, has argued that the court's protective order didn't apply to him since he was never one of the defendants in the federal conspiracy case. He also argued that since his blog has been shared by others, it would be nearly impossible to remove all the material he's posted from the Internet. Hunt also contends that since the federal government identified one of the informants during the first trial, Mark McConnell, any privilege of confidentiality masking the other informants' names is lost. "There was no objection when the government exposed Mark McConnell. There was no objection when Terri Linnell exposed her role as an informant. There was no objection when the diligence of the defense exposed Fabio Minoggio,'' Hunt wrote in one of his online articles. "For, at that instant in time, as each was exposed, the informants privilege ceased to exist.'' In his blog called "Burns Chronicles'' on his Outpost of Freedom website, Hunt has quoted from FBI reports on the agency's 15 informants during the occupation. The 130 reports, spanning 246 pages, were subject to a protective order, and each page contains the printed words, "Dissemination limited by court order,'' FBI agent Ronnie Walker wrote in an affidavit attached to one of the prosecutors' court filing...more

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