First Amendment area

Freedom of the Press? Journalist Arrested for Defense of First Amendment


— Reprinted with permission from Redoubt News —

Gary Hunt has been keeping Americans informed of Constitutional violations by the government for over 20 years. He has reported on the Ruby Ridge massacre as well as the Waco Siege.

More recently, Hunt has released information pertaining to Confidential Human Sources (aka Informants) in the Bunkerville Standoff and the Malheur Refuge Protest.

It was revealed during the first trial of the Malheur defendants that the FBI use of informants were extensive and, possibly, illegal. This is based on the informants being involved with the leadership of the protest, in charge of security, training with firearms, and more.

However, the court, specifically Judge Anna Brown, ruled that the names of the informants were not to be made public by the defense. The defense, through their investigative skills, determined the names of some of the informants, such as Fabio Minoggio (aka John Killman).

The prosecution was forced to turn over their documents, of which they redacted the identifying information. The court then ordered the involved parties to not share this information, so as to keep the identities of the informants secret.

However, it did not include other members of the public, such as a journalist, if they somehow obtained copies of the reports.

Hunt, through his investigative skills, obtained copies of (presumably) all the 1023 reports (CHS reporting documents). He then went through them and identified many more informants. After confirming these identities, he published the information, which has been picked up by many outlets including Redoubt News.

The court has decided that this reporting is against their orders. Judge Brown ordered Hunt to take down all materials and information pertaining to the informants from his website. Hunt refused and distinctly laid out his arguments, publicly posted under the series “Freedom of the Press.”

Though Hunt is clearly not a party to the case, and has protections under the first amendment, the court has ordered Hunt to be arrested on contempt of court charges and brought to Oregon and her jurisdiction. It is thought that the court is considering adding ‘aiding and abetting’ charges as well.

Judge Brown has kept the arrest warrant close to the vest as she apparently was afraid of the word getting out to Hunt’s supporters. It does not seem likely that she was concerned Hunt could be considered a flight risk as he has already stated that he was ready for this legal argument.

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