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Appeals court dismisses contempt order against journalist

(RSF/IFEX) - On 17 November 2008, a US court of Appeals dismissed the contempt order placed against "USA Today" reporter Toni Locy. Locy had been subpoenaed after Army scientist Steven Hatfill sued the government for leaking his name to the press in connection with the 2001 anthrax attack investigation.

Earlier in 2008, a district court judge ordered that Locy pay US$5,000 a day for refusing to reveal the government source that identified Hatfill as a person of interest to the investigation. While the Court of Appeals determined that the case raised important questions regarding a reporter's right to privileged information, it decided that the settlement between Hatfill and the government nullified the need to obtain Locy's sources. It is believed the decision should also overrule the District Court's earlier charge that Hatfill, who settled a Privacy Act claim with the government for US$5.8 million, could seek attorney fees from Locy.

Updates the Locy case:

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