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Federal judge rules New York Times can protect sources

[JURIST] New York District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet [official website] ruled Thursday that the New York Times [corporate website] can protect the confidentiality of its sources under the First Amendment [text], refusing to dismiss the paper's lawsuit against the government. The ruling comes after the New York Times filed a lawsuit last year attempting to stop the Department of Justice [official website] from obtaining phone records of two veteran journalists, Judith Miller and Philip Shenonand, talking to their sources in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The government wanted telephone records relating to a leak by a government employee about a raid on the offices of the Global Relief Foundation, an Islamic charity accused of funding terrorism. Judge Sweet stated the government can obtain telephone records during grand jury investigations when the information can be highly relevant and cannot be obtained elsewhere, but those conditions were not met in the present case. Miller is also one of two reporters facing jail time for the 2003 leak of an undercover CIA officer's name [JURIST story]. Read Judge Sweet's opinion [text, PDF]. AP has more.

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