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Journalist not forced to give up video

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years ago

Journalist not forced to give up video


Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer


Friday, June 16, 2006


A freelance journalist who faced a possible jail sentence for refusing to surrender video footage of a July 2005 clash between San Francisco police and anarchist demonstrators was abruptly released from a subpoena by federal prosecutors Thursday, his lawyer said.


Josh Wolf, 24, was ordered by U.S. District Judge William Alsup in a closed-door hearing earlier in the day to turn over the video and answer questions before a federal grand jury investigating the alleged vandalism of a police car, said attorney Ben Rosenfeld. Rosenfeld said Wolf was then questioned before the grand jury, and he insisted that he had a constitutional right to remain silent and to discuss the questions with his lawyers, and finally was told by a prosecutor, without explanation, that he was free to go.


There was no comment from the U.S. attorney's office.


A band of anarchists fought with police during a protest last year in the Mission District against an international economic summit in Scotland. One officer was hit in the head and suffered a fractured skull. Part of Wolf's video of the demonstration was shown on local television. He said federal prosecutors want the rest of the footage, which he has refused to give up.


Rosenfeld said federal prosecutors have contended that the damaging of a police car during the protest could be a federal crime because the Police Department receives federal funds. Federal law, unlike California law, contains no protections for reporters who refuse to reveal confidential sources or unpublished material.

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