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Fed Judge Once Again Orders Detroit Reporter to Testify in Suit by Ex-Prosecutor

David AshenfelterThe battle between an ex-prosecutor and a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter continues in the Motown. The question is: How many more delays will the judge tolerate?

BY JIM SCHAEFER and JOE SWICKARD
Detroit Free Press
DETROIT — Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter, who previously refused a court order to identify his sources in a 2004 article, has been ordered to testify once more in the case of a former federal prosecutor who is suing the U.S. Justice Department.

Ashenfelter, 60, (in photo) refused to answer questions in a December deposition, citing, among other things, his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

Ashenfelter and lawyers for the Free Press have argued that he could face prosecution if he identifies who in the Justice Department leaked word that Richard Convertino was the subject of an internal probe for his handling of a 2003 Detroit terrorism trial.

At a hearing earlier this month, Justice Department lawyers told U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland they could not rule out a prosecution relating to the release of private government information.

Cleland, in an opinion expressing skepticism, on Thursday ordered Ashenfelter to clarify under oath why he fears prosecution, so the judge may decide for himself if the fears are valid.
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