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(Eco)Terror Charge Snares Journo

Free press vs. Forest Service.

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The latest journalist looking at jail time is Esquire writer-at-large John Richardson, and without a secret source in sight. Richardson faces up to six months in prison for interfering with a U.S. Forest Service officer. He was arrested in March 2004 while working on a profile of extreme animal-rights activist Rod Coronado, who apparently disagreed with a government-sanctioned mountain-lion-relocation program. Richardson accompanied Coronado into a closed canyon, where the men were spotted (allegedly) dismantling a mountain-lion snare. Richardson’s confiscated audio notes were used to convict Coronado of a felony. The writer’s trial begins next week in Tucson, Arizona. “We hope the jury sees through the attempt to paint Richardson as an ecoterrorist,” says Lucy Dalglich of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Richardson couldn’t comment.


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