Arguing that that a reporter’s direct testimony about his source, in this case former CIA agent Jeffrey Alexander Sterling who has been charged under the Espionage Act of sharing classified information with NYT reporter James Risen, is important in obtaining a conviction despite a strong circumstantial case, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Welch told the judge “I hate to use this example, but I think we all know the difference, given what happened in Florida three days ago.”
Seeking to quash the subpoena for Risen’s testimony, his lawyer, Joel Kurtzberg told Judge Brinkema, “A reporter should be a last resort, not a first resort.” “They have an interest in law enforcement,” he said. “We have an interest in freedom of the press and ensuring that information flows to reporters.”
The defendant in the case, Jeffrey Sterling, is seated second from left in the above drawing.
Politico’s Josh Gerstein has the story (from which I lifted the quotes-thanks Josh!) here.
The New York Times’ Adam Liptak looks at the ethical question faced by
courtroom artists who take on private commissions in an article titled ‘Question of Perspective in Courtroom Paintings’ . The article focuses on Todd Crespi ( shown above sketching Bush v. Gore in 2000 ), an artist who clearly crosses an ethical line.
I’m quoted in the article as saying I’m “not very critical of Todd” , and it may appear that I condone his misrepresentations. I don’t.
But before condemning him I need to remind myself of a few journalistic lapses in my past. It used to be common practice to have artists do “re-creations” for a news stories, and lawyers still ask to have their day in court sketched after the fact.
Today I have a bright line : a sketch artist doesn’t sketch what he has not witnessed.
Once on a visit to the Folger I saw two nearly identical 17th century prints of a knight on horseback, the only difference was that one had the head of Charles I, and the other the head of Oliver Cromwell.