WASHINGTON — Time magazine and New York Times reporters, held in contempt for refusing to name sources, tried to stay out of jail by arguing for home detention after Time Inc. surrendered its reporter's notes to a prosecutor Friday.
Producing the documents makes it unnecessary for Time reporter Matthew Cooper to testify to the federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer's identity, Cooper's attorneys argued in papers filed with a federal judge.
"The decision of Time Inc. to comply with the special counsel's demand should obviate the need to enforce the subpoena served on Mr. Cooper and the contempt citation against him," the court papers state. "Mr. Cooper submits that his testimony would be duplicative and unnecessary."
Attorneys for New York Times reporter Judith Miller wrote that she would never reveal her sources and depriving her of her freedom offered "absolutely no realistic likelihood" that she would tell the prosecutor what she knew.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan found the two reporters and Time Inc. in contempt for refusing to cooperate in the investigation of who in the Bush administration disclosed the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame.
Plame's name was first published in a 2003 syndicated column by Robert Novak, who cited two unidentified senior Bush administration officials as his sources. Novak has refused to say whether he has testified or been subpoenaed.
Cooper, who wrote a subsequent story naming Plame, and Miller, who gathered material but never wrote an article, could be ordered to jail at the conclusion of a hearing before Hogan on Wednesday.
Time turned over the documents four days after the Supreme Court refused to consider the case. Cooper has indicated that he personally will not identify his sources.
If Hogan refuses to lift his civil contempt order, home detention is appropriate for Cooper and Miller, their lawyers argue in the court papers. In the alternative, Cooper should be sent to the federal prison camp in Cumberland, Md., and Miller to the federal prison camp for women at Danbury, Conn., their lawyers said. Home detention would restrict Cooper's activities "without unduly punishing" his wife and young son, his lawyers said.
Nine members of the Army with whom Miller spent time when she was covering the war in Iraq submitted letters on her behalf, saying that she keeps her word and would never reveal confidential sources. One letter was from Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, who is in command of training Iraqi security forces.