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R.I. AG won't back federal shield law

July 1, 2008 at 9:56 PM

PROVIDENCE, R.I., July 1 (UPI) -- Rhode Island's attorney general has refused to endorse a proposed federal shield law partly inspired by the conviction of a Rhode Island reporter.

Forty-two state attorneys general from both major political parties have backed the law, The Providence Journal reported. But Patrick Lynch, who became president of the National Association of Attorneys General, refused to sign a letter supporting the Free Flow of Information Act.

"Whether it's enacted or not will have no bearing or effect on the state law of Rhode Island, the courts of Rhode Island or our office's functioning," Michael Healey, a Lynch spokesman, said Monday.

Jim Taricani, a reporter for WJAR-TV in Providence, was sentenced to six months of home confinement for refusing to obey a court order to reveal who gave him a videotape. The tape, made by the FBI, showed an aide to former Providence Mayor Vincent Cianci Jr. receiving a bribe.

The bill got an additional push from the jailing of former New York Times reporter Judith Miller for refusing to reveal who told her Valerie Plame Wilson was a CIA agent.

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