Podcast: Times reporter faces jail for protecting source

The National Constitution Center’s Jeffrey Rosen is joined by Ted Boutrous and Randall Eliason to discuss reporter James Risen’s failed Supreme Court appeal, and why Risen faces jail for protecting a source.

jamesrisenThe Supreme Court on Monday morning denied hearing Risen’s case about reporters and confidential sources, which could have redefined an important precedent about the First Amendment and a free press.

Risen is facing a Justice Department subpoena to reveal a source used in a book about the CIA’s failed efforts in Iran. If Risen doesn’t reveal his source, he faces possible prison time, unless Attorney General Eric Holder decides otherwise, or a related case is settled first.

The Court hasn’t directly taken up a reporter’s privilege case since the Branzburg decision in 1972.

Joining us to discuss this important First Amendment issue are two leading experts on the Risen case and the ongoing debate over the press and confidential sources.

Randall Eliason teaches at the American University, Washington College of Law and The George Washington University Law School. Randall also spent 12 years as an assistant United States attorney for the District of Columbia, and he has written frequently about reporters’ privilege law.

Ted Boutrous is a partner at the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. He filed a friend-of-the court brief in the Risen case on behalf of the International Women’s Media Foundation. Ted is on Twitter at @BoutrousTed.

You can listen to the full podcast in the player below or by clicking the following link: Download this episode (right click and save)

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