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Ex-reporter to appeal contempt fine

March 10, 2008 at 9:49 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) -- Attorneys for a former reporter said they'll appeal a fine levied for not naming sources who identified an alleged suspect in the 2001 U.S. anthrax attacks.

The emergency request to the U.S. Court of Appeals comes after a federal judge ordered Toni Locy to begin paying fines of up to $5,000 per day out of her own pocket as long as she won't identify her sources, USA Today reported.

Locy is one of six reporters former U.S. Army scientist Steven Hatfill subpoenaed to reveal government sources who allegedly named him as a possible suspect in the attacks. The poisonous substance was mailed to several locations, killing five people.

One lawyer representing Locy, the ex-USA Today reporter now a West Virginia University journalism professor, said the fines were "unprecedented." Les Machado told USA Today the defense will ask the appeals court to postpone payments pending appeal of the contempt order issued by U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton against Locy for not revealing her sources.

Walton said Locy, alone, is responsible for the fine.

Locy said she can't afford the escalating payments, the first of which is due midnight Tuesday. Walton scheduled a hearing for April 3 to consider additional action to force Locy's compliance.

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