Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Judge sentences journalist Herridge for not disclosing confidential source.

By knl9j Mar1,2024
News

On Thursday, a federal judge found investigative reporter Catherine Herridge guilty of contempt of court for her refusal to disclose a confidential source. Her refusal ultimately led to the judge’s decision.

During the time that she was employed by Fox News, the veteran journalist produced a series of investigative pieces that told the story of a Chinese-American scientist who was probed by the FBI but was not charged with any crime.

It was decided by Judge Christopher Cooper that he would be had to pay a fine of $800 each day until the reporter Herridge makes her source public. Due to the fact that she has the opportunity to appeal the verdict, the fine will not take effect immediately.

It was written by Judge Cooper that he “recognizes the supreme importance of a free press in American society” as well as the vital function that confidential sources play in investigative journalism because of their importance. On the other hand, he stated that the court “must also play its role in protecting authority and upholding the law.””legal” .

“Herridge and many of her journalism colleagues may disagree with the decision and prefer to strike a different balance,” stated Judge Cooper, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama. “However, she is not allowed to flout a federal court order with impunity,” Judge Cooper stressed.

Patrick Philbin, who represents Ms. Herridge, declined to comment on the matter. The Fox News Network issued a statement in which it indicated that “the conviction of a journalist for protecting a confidential source has a deeply chilling effect on the field of journalism.”

Yanping Chen, who is suing the government for publishing details of a federal inquiry into her assertions on immigration forms regarding her involvement in a Chinese aeronautics program, is looking for the confidential source. She is suing the government because the government released the findings of the probe.

An investigative series that was shown on Fox News in 2017 and investigated Ms. Chen’s connections to the Chinese military was produced by journalist Herridge, who was recently terminated from her position at CBS News. The investigative series addressed the subject of whether or not the scientist was assisting the Chinese government in providing information on personnel of the United States military by utilizing the vocational school that she established in Virginia.

Ms. Chen filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice in 2018, claiming that her personal information had been unjustly disclosed in order to “smear her reputation and damage her way of life.”

In a decision that was handed down on Thursday, a federal judge found renowned investigative reporter Catherine Herridge in civil contempt for her refusal to reveal the source of the stories that she had written for Fox News in 2017. The reports were about a Chinese American scientist who was probed by the FBI but was never charged.

In order to provide Herridge with sufficient time to file an appeal, the United States District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington has imposed a punishment of $800 each day until she complies with the order. However, the fine will not go into effect immediately.

Cooper noted that he “recognizes the paramount importance of a free press in our society” and that he acknowledges the crucial function that confidential sources play in investigative journalism. On the other hand, the judge stated that the court “also has its own role to play in upholding the law and safeguarding judicial authority.”

Herridge and many of her colleagues in the news community may disagree with that decision and prefer that a different balance be struck, but she is not entitled to disobey a federal court’s order with impunity, said Cooper, who was nominated to the bench by former President Barack Obama. Cooper was appointed to the judge by Obama.

Attorney Patrick Philbin, who represents Herridge, declined to comment on the matter. There was no quick response from a representative of Fox News to an email sent by the Associated Press seeking comment information.

According to what we have stated in the past, we are completely in agreement with Catherine Herridge’s stance about this matter. According to a statement made by a spokeswoman for CBS News on Thursday evening, “no journalist should be punished for maintaining the confidentiality of a source.” “This order finding her in contempt should be concerning to all Americans who value the role of the free press in our democracy and understand that reliance on confidential sources is critical to the mission of journalism.”

Specifically, Yanpin Chen is looking for the source because she has filed a lawsuit against the government over the disclosure of information regarding the federal investigation into statements she made on immigration documents in connection with her participation in a Chinese astronaut program.

Herridge, who was recently terminated from her position at CBS News, published an investigative series for Fox News in 2017. The series investigated Chen’s connections to the Chinese military and raised questions about whether or not the scientist was utilizing a professional school that she established in Virginia to assist the Chinese government in gathering information about American servicemembers.

The stories relied on what her attorneys claim were items that were leaked from the investigation. These items included personal photographs, excerpts from an FBI document that summarized an interview that was conducted during the investigation, and information that was taken from her immigration and naturalization forms as well as from an internal PowerPoint presentation given by the FBI.

In 2018, Chen filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice, claiming that her personal information had been selectively disclosed in order to “smear her reputation and damage her livelihood.”

Herridge was required to provide answers to inquiries regarding her source or sources at a deposition with Chen’s attorneys in August, as the judge had ordered her to do. In spite of the “vital importance of a free press and the critical role” that confidential sources play in the work of journalists, the judge decided that Chen’s need to know for the sake of her lawsuit is more important than Herridge’s right to hide her source.

Herridge was questioned under oath by a lawyer for Chen in September, but she declined to answer questions about her sources dozens of times. At one point, she said, “My understanding is that the courts have ruled that in order to seek further judicial review in this case, I must now decline the order, and respectfully I am invoking my First Amendment rights in declining to answer the question.” Herridge’s refusal to answer the question was a clear indication that she was not willing to answer the question.

It has been said by Philbin, who served as the deputy White House counsel during the presidency of Donald Trump, that compelling Herridge to reveal her sources “would destroy her credibility and cripple her ability to play a role in bringing important information to light for the public.”

The judge was also informed by Philbin that the disclosure of the identities of Herridge’s sources raises issues regarding national security. Philbin wrote in court documents that there is a “serious risk” that Chen “was involved in making information about U.S. military members available” to the Chinese government.

Despite the fact that legal battles over whether or not journalists should be required to disclose their sources are uncommon, they have occurred on multiple occasions in the past couple of decades in cases involving the Privacy Act, such as the one that Chen filed. There have been cases in which a journalist has been forced to reveal a source, but in other cases, the case of Herridge has resulted in a substantial settlement from the Justice Department. This is an outcome that is still available.

For example, in 2008, the Department of Justice reached a settlement with Army scientist Steven Hatfill, who had been wrongfully identified as a person of interest in the anthrax attacks that occurred in 2001, by agreeing to pay $5.8 million to defend himself against the allegations. Following the conclusion of that settlement, a contempt order that had been issued against a journalist who had been requested to identify her sources was revoked.

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