Hatfill seeks court order forcing journalists to reveal sources in anthrax case

[JURIST] Former US Army germ-warfare researcher Dr. Steven J. Hatfill [WashPost profile], named a "person of interest" by the FBI [JURIST news archive] in its investigations of anthrax mailings [FBI backgrounder] shortly after the 2001 Sept. 11 attacks [JURIST news archive], has filed a motion to force journalists to reveal their sources after newspapers printed details about the investigation. Hatfill is seeking the information in his lawsuit [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] against the Justice Department, which Hatfill alleges violated the federal Privacy Act [text] by giving information to the media.

In January, US District Judge Claude M. Hilton of the Eastern District of Virginia granted a motion for dismissal [JURIST report] made by the New York Times in a defamation suit filed against the paper by Hatfill. Hatfill's prior suit against the Times and columnist Nicholas Kristof [NYT profile] was previously dismissed in the trial court, which ruled that the columns dealing with Hatfill were an ongoing report about a government investigation and did not constitute libel. The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed [opinion, PDF] the ruling, holding that a jury should decide that issue. Last year, the Supreme Court refused to grant certiorari [JURIST report] in the case. AP has more.



 

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