- Say Cheese: The story behind the famous sandwiches at the East Perry Fair (9/22/17)
- Anne Limbaugh dies, leaves legacy of caring (9/22/17)
- New boutique store advocates for special-needs people (9/19/17)
- Former football players provide leadership training at middle school (9/24/17)
- New businesses popping up all over Cape Girardeau (9/24/17)1
- Cape Girardeau native Jessica Johnston to compete as castaway on 'Survivor' season 35 (9/24/17)
- McClure man accused of leaving children in hot truck while gambling in casino (9/19/17)1
- Former major-league slugger Darryl Strawberry to speak at La Croix (9/20/17)
- Scott City officials, others oppose plan for railroad-tie treatment plant (9/25/17)5
- Young entrepreneurs add fresh ideas, unique offerings for area market (9/18/17)
Judge- Reporter must take stand in Lindh case
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- A judge on Friday rejected a free-lance reporter's effort to avoid testifying about his videotaped interview with American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh in Afghanistan last year.
U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III ruled that journalists don't enjoy a First Amendment privilege to avoid testifying except in limited circumstances involving protection of confidential sources or harassment.
His ruling means that for the time being free-lance reporter Robert Pelton is required to testify next week at Lindh's pretrial hearing.
While refusing to grant Pelton's request to reverse his subpoena, Ellis said that before Pelton is called he will re-evaluate whether the reporter's testimony is still needed next week after other witnesses appear.
Lindh's attorneys subpoenaed Pelton, arguing he was essentially acting as an agent of the U.S. government when he interviewed Lindh at a U.S. military hospital after the American Taliban was captured.
The attorneys argue Lindh should have been read his Miranda rights.
Pelton rejected the claims he was acting as an agent of the government, and his attorneys argued Pelton's safety and his ability to gather news as a journalist would be harmed if he were forced to testify.
Several news organizations joined Pelton in his effort to overturn the subpoena.
But Ellis rejected Pelton's claim he would be harmed by being forced to testify.
"It isn't the subpoena that puts him in danger," Ellis said. "It is the argument that the defendant makes and he has a right to make that argument."
Pelton, a free-lancer working for CNN, interviewed Lindh in December at a prison hospital in Sheberghan, Afghanistan, shortly after Lindh was turned over to U.S. custody.
In the interview, which the government plans to present at Lindh's trial, Lindh discusses how and why he joined the Taliban, saying his "heart became attached to the movement. I wanted to help them one way or another."
Lindh's attorneys are also seeking to suppress statements Lindh made to a variety of U.S. investigators following his capture last year. A hearing on the issue is scheduled to begin Monday.
The legal dispute could reverberate well beyond Lindh's case to other prisoners captured in the war on terrorism.
Lindh represents a new breed of defendant -- someone originally picked up as an enemy combatant in a war zone and later transferred to the civilian court system. Ellis must determine whether such prisoners should be immediately advised of their right to remain silent and have an attorney present during interrogation.
Lindh's attorneys say yes. Prosecutors respond that the rule on questioning "has no place at the battlefield."