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Mediator fails to free imprisoned blogger Josh Wolf
by infoshop (repost)
Friday Mar 16th, 2007 4:41 PM
Negotiations mediated by a federal magistrate failed to yield a settlement Thursday that would lead to the release Josh Wolf, a blogger and freelance journalist who has spent a record 198 days in prison for refusing to surrender videos he took at a San Francisco political protest. U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero said in a court filing that no settlement had been reached after four hours of talks and that he would consult with lawyers about whether to schedule another meeting. Wolf, who had attended the session, returned to the federal prison in Dublin.
Mediator fails to free imprisoned blogger Josh Wolf



Wednesday, March 14 2007 @ 11:38 AM PDT
Contributed by: Collin Sick

Negotiations mediated by a federal magistrate failed to yield a settlement Thursday that would lead to the release Josh Wolf, a blogger and freelance journalist who has spent a record 198 days in prison for refusing to surrender videos he took at a San Francisco political protest.

U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero said in a court filing that no settlement had been reached after four hours of talks and that he would consult with lawyers about whether to schedule another meeting. Wolf, who had attended the session, returned to the federal prison in Dublin.

Wolf's lawyers and a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Scott Schools declined to comment.

Wolf, 24, was held in contempt of court in August for defying a federal grand jury subpoena for outtakes of his videos from a July 2005 Mission District demonstration organized by anarchists to protest an economic summit in Scotland.

A police officer was hit in the head during the demonstration and suffered a fractured skull. The grand jury is investigating an alleged attempt to set a police car on fire, an act that prosecutors say was a federal crime, because the Police Department receives money from Washington.

Police have not been able to identify the officer's assailant, and no one has been charged with damaging the patrol car. District Attorney Kamala Harris, whose office dropped charges against a demonstrator who was near the car, is among those who have called for Wolf's release from prison, along with the Board of Supervisors.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Finigan has described Wolf in a court filing as delusional and a self-styled journalistic martyr who was not an actual reporter, just someone with a video camera at a public event. Journalists' associations, however, regard him as a journalist who was there to film the demonstration for his blog.

Parts of Wolf's video were shown on local television stations, but he has refused to release the outtakes or testify to the grand jury, saying he has no evidence of any crimes and is unwilling to act as an agent of the prosecution. U.S. District Judge William Alsup held him in contempt, saying journalists have no constitutional right to withhold evidence from a federal grand jury.

On Feb. 6, Wolf became the longest-imprisoned journalist in U.S. history for defying a court order. He could be held until July, when the grand jury's term expires, or longer if prosecutors extend the jury's term for another six months. Alsup referred the case to Spero for mediation last month.