Lawyers for former prosecutor Richard Convertino aren’t giving up their quest to find out who leaked news of a Justice Department ethics investigation into his handling of a 2003 terrorism trial. They have asked a judge to order Detroit Free Press editors to give up the information, after the paper’s reporter, David Ashenfelter, argued his Fifth Amendment rights would be violated if he divulged the source.
Convertino is suing the Justice Department for privacy violations. He claims the leak was illegal, which is why Ashenfelter invoked the Fifth. The journalist’s earlier argument that the First Amendment protected his confidential source was rejected.
Convertino’s motion argues the newspaper itself can’t claim the Fifth. Because the paper’s ethics policy instructs reporters to reveal their confidential sources to an editor, the editors must know the source’s identity, Convertino argues.