Magazine article The Quill

CBS Posts Transcripts of Dragging Death Interview

Magazine article The Quill

CBS Posts Transcripts of Dragging Death Interview

Article excerpt

CBS turned over transcripts to prosecutors on Nov. 10 of an interview that anchor Dan Rather did in September with dragging death defendant Shawn Allen Berry. CBS also posted the transcript on its web site, a move some press advocates are applauding.

"That was very smart of them to put the information out there for everyone. To let the world see how stupid the prosecutors were in this whole thing," said Christine Tatum, the chair of the SPJ's Legal Defense Fund.

Berry is accused of beating then chaining James Byrd Jr. to the back of a truck and dragging Byrd to his death. Two other men have already been convicted of the crime. Berry told Rather during the interview that he attempted to get the other men to stop beating Byrd.

The case had threatened to send producer Mary Mapes to jail for refusing to turn over the transcripts. Texas does not have a shield law, and the trial judge found Mapes in contempt for not turning over the records. …

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