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Journalist Arrested For “Wiretapping” For Publishing Trial Recording

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At the end of October, Derek Myers published audio from a court case that someone else had illicitly recorded. The audio was of Jake Wagner’s testimony in his brother’s murder trial related to both of their involvement in a massacre that led to the murder of eight people. The Scioto Valley Guardian published the audio with this note: “The Guardian wants to disclose that the audio was not recorded by a member of the media and was submitted to the Guardian’s newsroom by a courthouse source who is authorized to have their cell phone in the room.” But after publication, on Nov. 1, police showed up and arrested Myers, seized his devices and charged him with felony wiretapping. Worse, the warrant issue to seize Myers’ tech was expired

FIRE, a freedom of speech focused organization, condemned the arrest and seizures outright. “If mere knowledge that materials were unlawfully obtained is enough to limit journalists’ publications, it would allow governments to make a broad range of documents and information confidential and then punish anyone outside the government who talks about it,” Adam Steinbaugh wrote. “That would make it harder for the public to learn about things their governments do not want them to know.”

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