Glenn Beck, a 52-year-old famous conservative media host in the U.S., has declined to comply with a court order that demands he reveal sources who he claims provided him with reliable information on a Saudi student that allegedly spearheaded the 2013 deadly blast in Boston.
Image: Glenn Lee Beck
Abdulrahman Alharbi was implicated by Beck’s TV network as being responsible for the deadly bombing at a Boston Marathon finish line in 2013.
Though investigators into the case had earlier suggested that Alharbi didn’t play any part in the plot, Beck insisted that he was implicated.
Early in the investigation, the Saudi student had been a prime suspect but Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano later said, “He was not on a watch list … he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris, acting on a defamation suit brought by Saudi Abdulrahman Alharbi, instructed Beck, together with two of his producers and related companies, to ensure by law that they provide every tangible evidence to the court Wednesday.
The court order says Beck and his fellows must provide their sources for the accusations leveled against Alharbi even after senior U.S. officials publicly cleared the student of any involvement.
However, contrary to the court order, a lawyer representing Beck’s company and producer Joe Weasel said on Wednesday that no names will be made available to the court. The source was alleged to be veteran officials of the Department of Homeland Security.
A letter from the lawyer representing Beck’s operation and Weasel reads:
“Defendants cannot disclose the identities of the Confidential Sources without their permission for several reasons. First and foremost, as a fundamental matter of journalistic integrity, Defendants cannot disclose the identities of the Confidential Sources without their authorization. Defendants are justifiably concerned that substantial harm could come to the Confidential Sources if they are identified.
“Second, if Mr. Weasel were to disclose the identities of the Confidential Sources, it is a near certainty that no confidential sources would ever speak to Mr. Weasel or TheBlaze, Inc. and its affiliates again.
“Third, Mr. Weasel promised his sources confidentiality, and disclosure of their identities would potentially subject him personally as well as TheBlaze, Inc . to civil liability.” attorney Michael Grygiel said in a letter to Saris on Wednesday afternoon.
Grygiel said their sources were all informed of the judge’s demand, but added that they “were unwilling to be identified”.
Saris [the judge] had earlier promised she would “keep their names out of the court record and bar those involved in the litigation from revealing who the sources are”.
According to the letter from Grygiel as confirmed by Politico, Weasel worked for The Blaze “at the time” of the 2013 marathon reports, but it does not say if he still works for the firm or for Beck.
Josh Gerstein [a writer with Politico] argues that “Weasel’s refusal to name the sources creates the possibility that he could be held in contempt of court and jailed, although Weasel is not a defendant in the case so there could be more legal hoops to jump through to go after him personally. Saris could impose fines on The Blaze Inc. or take action to limit the company’s defenses in the lawsuits, such as instructing a jury that it could infer that the sources did not exist.
“It seems less likely that Beck would be held in contempt personally because Grygiel’s letter says the host had no contact with the sources “and could not identify” them.
It’s unclear whether mainstream journalists and other First Amendment advocates who have fought to protect sources in other instances will rally around Beck and Weasel as the judge mulls what action to take in the fight involving the polarizing conservative commentator.”
Glenn Lee Beck, 52, is an American television and radio host, conservative political commentator, author, television network producer, filmmaker, and entrepreneur.
Beck hosts the Glenn Beck Radio Program, a popular nationally syndicated talk-radio show that airs throughout the United States on Premiere Radio Networks and the Glenn Beck television program.
The TV show aired on HLN from January 2006 to October 2008, and on Fox News Channel from January 2009 to June 2011. It currently airs on The Blaze.