Josh Wolf Released From Federal Detention Tuesday – Longest Held Journalist For Refusing To Turn Over Source Materials

Josh Wolf Released From Federal Detention Tuesday – Longest Held Journalist For Refusing To Turn Over Source Materials

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(Best Syndication) The 24 year old videographer journalist Josh Wolf was released from federal custody today. He had been held in contempt of court for refusing to turn over video tapes he made during a protest in the Bay area. Wolf served longer than any journalist in U.S. history for protecting source materials.

Wolf has filmed other protests, and sold that video to the television station (KRON) the day after the protest. Today Josh’s mother, Liz Wolf Spada, told me “ The only statement Josh has authorized anyone to make in his stead as a third party is the one he wrote yesterday in prison and gave to me”

The statement reads “The government met Mr. Wolf's demands releasing him without appearing before the Grand Jury and without having to testify as to the events or participants at the demonstration." The 24 year old Wolf spent seven months at the federal prison in Dublin California.

Josh Wolf was placed in detention for refusing to turn over his tapes to a Grand Jury relating to a July 8, 2005 G-8 Summit protest in San Francisco. One police officer was hurt in the protest. Wolf’s father told National Public Radio that his son could not comply with the court.

His father, Len Harrison, told NPR’s John Ydstie “They (the Grand Jury) wanted to make him an example.” Liz told me that California has good journalist shield laws, but somehow the federal government got involved prompting a Federal Grand Jury investigation.

There are questions surrounding how the federal government got involved in the first place. Harrison said “There was no criminal issue involved here that should be of interest to the federal government. This is really a local matter.”

Ydstie mentioned that the federal authorities were interested in a tape Josh had showing a police officer being attacked. “The federal authorities have never made that statement, nor does he have that tape,” Harrison said. He told Ydstie that “Josh was not there (where the police officer was hurt)”.

There were allegations that someone had attempted to set a police car on fire. One of the protestors may have thrown some fireworks, according to Harrison. It was a few days after the forth of July. Josh made the deposition that he did not have footage of that either.

Harrison made the point that the police car in question was not a federal vehicle, but was a San Francisco police car. Harrison said that the car only had a broken tail-light. His mother told me that the Feds said that since the city receives federal money, that they had an interest in this case.

Josh could have been held until July when the Grand Jury expired. "It took 226 days, but it was worth every second to get what I wanted from day one, which is that I will not have to testify before the grand jury about the events at the protest or the identities of participants," he said in a statement e-mailed to reporters before his release Tuesday. "The demand for my testimony before the grand jury was the true assault on my code of ethics and, as I have stated previously, there will be, and has been no compromise to this resolute principle."

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Writer

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