Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

September 2021
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: Richard Convertino

A Detroit Reporter Comments on a Colleague’s Refusal to Disclose Federal Sources

In Detroit, a battle has been simmering between a former Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino and Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Ashenfelter. Convertino wants to know who leaked information about him to Ashenfelter, who is now taking the Fifth.

Ex-Prosecutor Convertino

Ex-Prosecutor Convertino

By Sandra Svoboda
News Hits staff/Detroit Metro Times
DETROIT — Let’s get this out right from the start: News Hits has a hard time being even close to objective when it comes to covering the legal tussle going on between Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter and former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino.
We don’t like to see good journalists called criminals for essentially doing their jobs. If reporters routinely fear prosecution for providing an otherwise absent watchdog role over government, everyone suffers.
Think Kwame Kilpatrick.
But part of us does understand Convertino’s position of wanting the truth to come out relevant to his personal lawsuit against the government. We’ve seen the movie Absence of Malice many times, and get the concept of unnamed government officials unscrupulously using the press as a weapon against someone they’re out to get.
We also understand how frustrating it can be for the aggrieved person trying to find out exactly who leaked the tar so that they can be held accountable. All of which is part of the reason we find the case fascinating.
Convertino, now in private practice in Plymouth, has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against his former employer, the U.S. Department of Justice. Among other things, Convertino claims an unnamed official illegally gave Ashenfelter information for a 2004 article about the department investigating Convertino’s handling of a high-profile terrorism trial.
Convertino also claims he was punished for complaining – to Congress, in fact – about a lack of resources to fight terrorism.

To Read More

Battle in Motown to Force a Reporter to Reveal Sources Continues

The battle to force a reporter to disclose sources continues in Detroit. Here’s the latest.

By ED WHITE
Ex-Prosecutor Convertino

Ex-Prosecutor Convertino

Associated Press Writer
DETROIT — A lawyer asked a judge Tuesday to declare a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter in contempt for refusing during a court-ordered deposition to reveal unnamed sources who leaked information about a terrorism prosecutor.
A lawyer for former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino asked that reporter David Ashenfelter of the Detroit Free Press be fined $500 to $5,000 per day until he divulges who in the U.S. Justice Department helped him with a 2004 story about an ethics investigation.
Ashenfelter, 60, invoked the First Amendment and the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during a deposition Dec. 8. Two federal judges had ordered him to comply with a subpoena for information.
“It is important that Mr. Ashenfelter’s defiance come to a very rapid end,” Convertino’s attorney, Stephen Kohn, said in a filing in federal court.
“This discovery dispute has gone on for nearly 18 months, during which time Mr. Ashenfelter has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to make frivolous and unfounded arguments whose only purpose is to cause delay and drive up costs,” Kohn said.
For Full Story
Read Convertino’s Motion

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Showdown in the Motown: Detroit Reporter Invokes the Fifth and Refuses to Disclose Sources

An angry ex-federal prosecutor wants to know who in the government leaked damaging information about him. And he wants a reporter to tell him who talked. The reporter is refusing. The drama continues.

David Ashenfelter

Ex-Prosecutor Convertino/law office photo

Ex-Prosecutor Convertino/law office photo

By Joe Swickard
Detroit Free Press
DETROIT — Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter declined under oath this afternoon to reveal confidential sources in a legal standoff that pits journalistic principles against the obligation to testify under subpoena.
In declining to say who told the newspaper that a federal prosecutor was being investigated for his handling of a botched terrorism case, Ashenfelter invoked the First Amendment of the Constitution that guarantees press freedoms, and his Fifth-Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The newspaper released a statement saying Ashenfelter (far left photo)  took the Fifth because of concerns that he could face legal exposure if the sources are identified and charged with a crime for leaking the information. Richard Convertino, a former federal prosecutor who sought the information from Ashenfelter as part of a lawsuit against the government, contends that it was illegal for the information to be leaked. Convertino also contends that Ashenfelter, by refusing to give up his sources, is aiding anyone who committed a crime.
“Journalists ought not to have to resort to taking the Fifth Amendment, when the First Amendment should be enough to protect them,” the Free Press statement said. “But in light of the allegations made by Convertino in his lawsuit, it is appropriate for Ashenfelter to do so.”
It is not immediately clear what Steven M. Kohn, the attorney for Convertino, will do now.
“We will be seeking the appropriate relief,” said Kohn as he exited the deposition in Ann Arbor after a 55-minute session. Kohn said he may seek to ask a federal judge to hold Ashenfelter in contempt of court and seek other sanctions.
For Full Story

Read ticklethewire.com Column on Convertino