Monday, March 06, 2017

Subpoena For Former OPB Reporter Quashed In Malheur Occupation Case

A former OPB reporter will not be compelled to testify about his interview with an occupation leader during last year’s takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. In January 2016, former OPB reporter John Sepulvado, now with KQED in California, interviewed occupation leader Ryan Bundy about the refuge takeover. Prosecutors want to play the audio interview for the jury, which is tasked with deciding whether four defendants are guilty of federal charges related to their occupation of the wildlife refuge. An attorney for OPB and Sepulvado argued that testifying in the case would violate journalists’ legal privilege not to testify about their sources. Case law in this area holds some ambiguity. Courts are asked to weigh the need to gather evidence in balance with the benefits of a healthy free press. Defense attorneys raised questions about the veracity of Sepulvado’s edited audio. If prosecutors were permitted to play the interview for the jury, attorney Jesse Merrithew, representing defendant Jake Ryan, promised to counter with evidence to question Sepulvado’s credibility. At Friday’s hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown affirmed journalists’ privilege and granted Bosworth’s motion to quash the subpoena...more

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