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Fed Judge Orders Detroit Reporter To Give Deposition About Secret Sources

David Ashenfelter/photo-michigan journalism hall of fameThe contracted battle to get a Detroit Free Press reporter to give up his sources rages on in the Motor City. The matter is headed for a showdown.

BY M.L. Elrick
Free Press Staff Writer
DETROIT — U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland ruled Friday that Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter must appear for a deposition in a lawsuit, rejecting the newspaper’s bid to have a Washington, D.C., judge decide the matter.
Ashenfelter (pictured above)  wrote in 2004 that the Justice Department was investigating possible professional misconduct by Richard Convertino, a federal prosecutor in Detroit who oversaw a failed 2003 terrorism case. Convertino filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department in Washington and is seeking to question Ashenfelter about his sources.
Convertino was later indicted on charges of lying to a jury to win convictions in the terrorism case. He was acquitted.
Ashenfelter did not attend a deposition last month while the newspaper’s lawyer contested the deposition.Free Press Editor Paul Anger pledged to continue fighting the deposition.
“Freedom of the press and the public’s right to know are at stake here,” he said. “Sources can be valuable, and the case of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is just one recent example. Sources will not come forward to give the public information about the actions and possible misconduct of government officials if they fear retaliation. Those sources deserve protection, and so do reporters.”
For Full Story
Read Court Order
Read Column by Retired FBI Agent Greg Stejskal on Convertino
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