DAILY NEWS: Lawyers for the Daily News and the Inquirer are seeking to block efforts to force 10 reporters to testify about their sources in the probe into now-indicted slots parlor owner Louis DeNaples. A lawyer for the papers’ owner said that the subpoenas issued recently to the papers and the reporters – as well as several other Pennsylvania journalists – by lawyers for DeNaples “were really designed to harass members of the media.” “We believe that the subpoenas really are an attempt to intimidate the press and to deter the reporters from writing articles about the defendant that they prefer not to be written,” said Scott Baker, the general counsel for Philadelphia Newspapers LLC, parent of the Daily News and Inquirer. “These are very broad-based subpoenas.”
Sprague & Sprague, the Philadelphia law firm representing DeNaples, issued the subpoenas in seeking to investigate alleged news leaks from the grand-jury probe. The state Supreme Court has authorized the probe of leaks. DeNaples is accused of lying to state investigators about his relationships with two reputed mobsters and two men at the center of a political-corruption scandal in Philadelphia when he was applying for a slots license for the Mount Airy Resorts Casino in the Poconos. The 14-page motion filed by the Philadelphia newspapers seeks to block the subpoenas on three grounds: That the reporters’ relationships with sources are protected under the state’s Shield Law, that investigating grand-jury secrecy is not a proper role for defense lawyers like Sprague and that the request is a violation of the journalists’ broader First Amendment rights.
The Sprague lawyers issued the subpoenas to three Daily News reporters — John Baer, Chris Brennan and Kitty Caparella — and seven from the Inquirer: George Anastasia, Mario F. Cattabiani, Mark Fazlollah, Craig R. McCoy, Jeff Shields, John Shiffman and John Sullivan. MORE
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