This morning, Judge Liam O’Grady ruled that New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof will not be forced to disclose his two FBI sources in a case brought against him by former Army scientist Steven Hatfill. However, by withholding the sources, sanctions were imposed against the newspaper.
Last month, the Times was ordered to reveal Mr. Kristof’s confidential sources that provided information for several columns written about the 2001 anthrax mailings. The Justice Department named Mr. Hatfill a “person of interest” in the anthrax investigation, but he was never charged.
In an Alexandria, VA courtroom, around 10:30 a.m., Judge O’Grady imposed evidentiary sanctions against the Times. If the Times will not name the sources, then the newspaper “will not be able to rely on their FBI sources” in their defense, according to Charles Kimmett, an attorney for Mr. Hatfill.
The judge denied a request by the plaintiffs that the Times be fined $25,000 a day for non-compliance with the order to reveal sources.
A trial date has now been set for January 29, 2007.
“We’re confident, based on the discovery we’ve taken, that we will present a strong case for Dr. Hatfill,” said Mr. Kimmett.