[Homestead] update on jailing a reporter
tonihawr at msn.com
Thu Dec 9 08:00:49 EST 2004
Reporter faces prison for refusing to identify source who leaked tape
PROVIDENCE, R.I., Dec. 9 - Three years after airing a secret FBI videotape showing a city official taking a bribe, television reporter Jim Taricani faces up to six months in prison for refusing to identify who illegally leaked him the tape.
Taricani was scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in federal court, after being found guilty last month of criminal contempt. His source, who was identified in court papers last week, was asked to testify at the hearing. <>
Taricani has asked U.S. District Judge Ernest Torres for less than 30 days of home confinement because of health concerns. He has a transplanted heart.
The FBI tape, which showed former mayoral aide Frank Corrente taking a $1,000 bribe, was part of a corruption probe that ultimately sent city officials, including former Mayor Vincent ''Buddy'' Cianci to federal prison.
Less than a week after Taricani was convicted, Providence lawyer Joseph Bevilacqua Jr. came forward and admitted he leaked the tape. Bevilacqua was the lawyer for former city tax official Joseph Pannone, who pleaded guilty in the corruption scandal.
Bevilacqua told prosecutors he never required Taricani to withhold his identity and that Taricani asked him not to come forward.
Taricani said that is a lie, explaining that Bevilacqua repeatedly insisted that his identity be kept confidential in numerous conversations during the last three years - and as recently as the day Taricani stood trial for contempt.
Special prosecutor Marc DeSisto received permission from the court to call Bevilacqua to testify at Thursday's sentencing hearing to determine if his admission that he leaked the tape, and other testimony he gave under oath, should be factors in the reporter's sentencing.
Bevilacqua's attorney, Thomas Tarro, said he expects Bevilacqua to face some charge or disciplinary action for releasing the tape.
(MY NOTE : was the tape made for blackmail purposes to begin with ??)
Around the nation, several reporters face possible fines or jail, including in cases of the leaked identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame and a lawsuit against the government by nuclear physicist Wen Ho Lee. Taricani would be the first to be sentenced to serve time.
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