Friday, October 19, 2007

Prosecutor Jails News Execs, Wants Data On Website Readers

It happened in Arizona. This Associated Press story on the PG's website provides details:

• "The leaders of an alternative newspaper chain were arrested after running a story about grand jury subpoenas they received seeking reporters' notes and information on who visits their Phoenix weekly's Web site".

• "The subpoenas also seek online profiles of anyone who read four specific articles about (local County Sheriff) Arpaio and profiles of anyone who visited the paper's Web site since Jan. 1, 2004. Also sought was information on what Web users did while on the site, the story said."

Editor & Publisher quotes an Arizona Republic report:

• "The alternative weekly newspaper, in its cover story, said the subpoena was part of an investigation orchestrated to get back at its reporters and the critical stories they wrote of County Attorney Andrew Thomas' political ally Sheriff Joe Arpaio."

The New York Times adds this context and more details:

• "The special prosecutor had been appointed to look into allegations that the newspaper had violated the law in publishing the home address of Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s home address on its website more than three years ago."

• "The weekly and its leadership has been in a long running battle with Mr. Arpaio, after the weekly published a series of stories about his real estate dealings."

“They did not have a warrant, but they told me that I was being arrested for unlawful disclosure of grand jury information,” Mr. Larkin said by phone from his home early this morning, after he was released from jail. Mr. Lacey remained in jail early this morning. Captain Paul Chagolla, a spokesman for the sheriff did not return a call for comment."

Here's link to the Village Voice account of what happened to its executives because of the story in its sister publication.


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