Kansas reporter Claire O’Brien has been held in contempt of court and fined $1,000 after not appearing in court this morning to testify, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
She had previously been ordered by a Ford County court to testify about a confidential source and a jailhouse interview with a murder suspect in a grand jury proceeding. In that proceeding, she unsuccessfully argued that she was protected by a reporter’s privilege. Currently, there is no shield law in Kansas.
After the high court granted a stay in that matter, she was served with another subpoena to appear at the actual criminal trial. O’Brien’s newspaper, the Dodge City Globe filed an appeal in the state supreme court and lost.
O’Brien is seeking her own representation to continue to fight the case, the Capital-Journal reported.
THE FOLLOWING NOTE APPEARS NEAR THE BOTTOM OF THE ABOVE SCREEN SHOT. I AM PROTECTING IT BY REPRODUCING IT MYSELF. IT IS EXTREMELY AVAILABLE THROUGH ME AND I ‘LL BE GLAD TO SEND IT TO WHOMEVER WANTS TO SEE THE ORIGINAL
To Whom it May Concern:
This memo is to clarify misperceptions regarding the circumstances surrounding Claire O’Brien’s refusal to appear before a Kansas inquisition on February 10, 2010.
Ms. O’Brien was subpoenaed to testify in Dodge City, KS, in a murder investigation. She had written a story in the Dodge City Daily Globe regarding an October 13 jailhouse interview that also included statement from an anonymous source.
O’Brien’s then-employer, GateHouse Media, had unsuccessfully fought the subpoena all the way to the Kansas Supreme Court.
It was my understanding from talking to a GateHouse representative before the scheduled testimony that the company had told Ms. O’Brien that it would provide an attorney for her at the Feb. 10 proceeding, but that if she refused to testify regarding her anonymous source, its financial support for her legal representation and subsequent potential fines would end.