CLEVELAND — A federal judge's dismissal of a case against the American Broadcasting Co. and television reporter Geraldo Rivera has been called a breakthrough for the use of secret recording devices by reporters.
U.S. District Judge Alice Bachelder ruled Thursday that reporters may use secret recording devices to record events and conversations as long as the reporters use the recording equipment for the purpose of gathering news.
"It's a clear endorsement of freedom of the press," Cleveland lawyer Terrence J. Clark told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Clark, who represented ABC in the case, said the decision will aid investigative reporters across the country who have been concerned whether they could use a recorder to tape interviews without the consent of the person or persons being interviewed.
The case resulted from a 1980 ABC news magazine "20/20" program concerning alleged sexual misconduct of former Summit County Probate Judge James V. Barbuto.