Magazine article The Quill

Source Comes Forward, Contempt Charge Dropped

Magazine article The Quill

Source Comes Forward, Contempt Charge Dropped

Article excerpt

A Virginia newspaper reporter who had been found in contempt of court and faced up to a month in jail for refusing to reveal a source avoided being jailed in August when the source came forward on her own.

Judge Pamela Sargent, a U.S. magistrate judge in Abingdon, Va., had found Chris Dumond, 23, of the Bristol (Va.) Herald Courier in contempt on July 22 for failing to reveal the source of information he received from a sealed warrant related to the investigation of a local doctor, Editor & Publisher reported. Sargent had ordered Dumond to provide the source's identity or face a contempt finding that could result in a $5,000 fine or up to 30 days in jail.

Virginia has no shield law protecting reporters' rights to keep sources confidential.

The potential contempt finding stemmed from five articles Dumond wrote from June 26 to July 11 on Dr. Tajammul Bhatti, a Pakistani psychiatrist who was detained June 20 as a material witness in a federal grand jury probe. …

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