Support A Fellow Journalist

I think it's important that I reprint here Carl Jones' short in the the Miami New Times this week regarding a fellow reporter:

St. Petersburg Times reporter William Levesque has undergone two rounds of chemotherapy and two surgeries. He has been hospitalized three times and takes eight different medications per day.

But despite Levesque's poor health, Miami Federal Judge Jose E. Martinez this past Friday denied his request to quash a subpoena requiring him to appear in Miami this month to testify in a criminal trial about comments a defendant made during an interview with the reporter in 2004. Levesque, who lives in Tampa, fought the subpoena, arguing that a combination of cancer, journalistic privilege, and the fact that he doesn't remember anything about the interview should exempt him from having to appear as a witness.

The trial has been postponed until later this month.

Levesque, who is on disability leave, did not respond to e-mail and voicemail requests for an interview. Alison Steele, an attorney for the St. Petersburg Times, said the paper thought it was "unusual" for the judge to compel a reporter to testify in a federal court case.

The case Levesque is being asked to testify in concerns a Pasco County company accused of a $12 million fraud scheme. In 2004, the reporter interviewed the company's president.

Prosecutors have not requested that Levesque turn over his notes, which sometimes happens in cases when journalists testify. Not that it would matter: Levesque doesn't have them anymore.

I couldn't find that the Times has reported any of this, which seems very odd to me (it's possible I missed it somehow). But the idea of a judge dragging a sick reporter into court because the feds are having a hard time proving a fraud case is revolting to me. Every reporter and every journalistic organization -- specifically the SPJ and the Florida Press Club -- need to stand up behind Levesque right now.

After the jump: The Church Lady Tries To Pin Crist Down

Margaret Hostetter, a conservative Christian Republican and erstwhile Congressional candidate, wants Charlie Crist to make a promise that if he's lying about his sexuality he'll resign from the governorship should he win.

[After first notifying the Crist campaign and the media of her intent], Hostetter tried to catch up with Crist, pen in hand, at a planned campaign stop in Davie yesterday to get him to sign the following statement:

I, Charlie Crist, promise to resign from office immediately if it is ever proven that I have misrepresented my sexuality to the citizens of Florida. The people of Florida can believe my statement that I have never had sex with a man.


Charles "Charlie" Crist

Charlie didn't show up but I don't think he would have signed the paper in a million years. Hostetter, though, represents another issue involved in the Crist question: Doesn't she and millions of other right-wing Christian Republicans deserve to know the truth prior to the election? They're the ones who wouldn't elect him if they knew he was gay. And they are the ones who are going to be outraged if Crist is outed as governor and will likely force him to resign.

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