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In a petition filed Monday, New York Times reporter James Risen asked the United States Supreme Court to hear his case, in which he asks not to be compelled to testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of leaking information to him.
An appeals court declined to hear Risen’s case in October.
“This case has been transformed into a potential constitutional showdown over the First Amendment and the role of the press in the United States because of the Obama Administration’s aggressive use of the powers of the government to try to rein in independent national security reporting,” Risen told Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan.
“The situation faced by Risen here is not unique and is likely to recur,” his brief states. “In the past few years, it has become commonplace to subpoena journalists to reveal their confidential sources.”
Risen asked for a stay in the leak case while he prepared his appeal to the Supreme Court. He argued that rules regarding leak investigations that the Department of Justice put into place in July meant DOJ should drop its insistence he testify. The department said in its filing that the new guidelines don’t apply to his case.
The court won’t decide whether to take up the case before late February, Lucy McCalmont writes in Politico.
The government and Sterling both have the opportunity to respond within a month. From there, Risen’s lawyers are able — if they choose to do so — to file a reply brief within two weeks.
The justices will then go into conference and meet together to decide whether or not to take Risen’s case, but a timetable on this decision is not yet confirmed.