Ex-Fed Prosecutor Keeps Trying and Trying to Find Out Free Press Sources

January 17, 2013, 12:48 AM


Former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino isn't giving up in his quest to find out confidential sources in a story Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter wrote nine years ago.

U.S. District Court Robert Cleland in Detroit on Tuesday ordered the paper to produce documents by Jan. 29 related to the story or confidential sources, according to the Free Press.

He also ordered that the Free Press produce a witness other than Ashenfelter who would know about the sources. The judge had previously granted Ashenfelter his Fifth Amendment right not to disclose the sources. Ashenfelter recently took a buyout from the Free Press.

"We respect the court, and we also respect the public's right to know and the protection of sources," Free Press Editor and Publisher Paul Anger said in a story in the Free Press. "Our legal fight continues."

Convertino, who is now in private practice,  sued the Justice Department after the Freep published the article which said the Justice Department was investigating possible misconduct on his part related to the prosecution of a high-profile terrorism case. Convertino claims the Justice Department violated the Administrative Procedures Act and his right to privacy by allegedly leaking info about him.

Two of four defendants were convicted of terrorism. The terrorism charges were later vacated after authorities learned that Convertino had withheld key evidence from the defense.  



Convertino was eventually charged with illegally withholding the evidence, but was acquitted in 2007.

In March 2011, Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court in D.C. dismissed the then-seven-year lawsuit, the Freep reported. But in June, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia returned the case to the lower court, the Freep reported.

Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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