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SF Chronicle: Journalist not forced to give up video
by (reposted)
Friday Jun 16th, 2006 9:19 AM
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.
SAN FRANCISCO
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Federal law, unlike California law, contains no protections for reporters who refuse to reveal confidential sources or unpublished material.

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by wondering
Friday Jun 16th, 2006 9:43 AM
This is awesome, but I can't help but wonder if the Feds had Josh's phones tapped, listening devices in his house, etc. and determined that the unedited video contained nothing of interest to law enforcement. Or maybe there was no surveilance, yet there was something of interest in the video, and the Feds will never know because they just decided to do the right thing?
by deanosor
Friday Jun 16th, 2006 12:55 PM
To speculate what was or was not on Wolf's video is dangerous, coutnerproductive, and silly. The grand jury and it's political fishing expedition is not over. Josh or other alleged witnesses could be called back. We don't know what was in the assistant U.S. attorney's mind.