Judge holds veteran journalist Catherine Herridge in contempt for refusing to reveal her sources


Catherine Herridge attends Paramount's White House Correspondents' Dinner after party at the Residence of the French Ambassador on April 30, 2022 in Washington, DC.

A federal judge on Thursday held veteran journalist Catherine Herridge in contempt of court, fining her $800 a day for refusing to divulge her sources for a series of stories published in 2017 while she was a correspondent at Fox News.

Herridge, who has aggressively fought the case, is expected to appeal the judge’s decision. The case could have sweeping First Amendment implications for journalists and news organizations across the country.

Herridge, who left Fox News in 2019 and was recently laid off by CBS News, refused in September to disclose the sources used for her stories, defying a court order issued earlier in the year by the US District Court for the District of Columbia. The order from Judge Christopher Cooper came as a result of a lawsuit filed by Chinese American scientist Yanping Chen against the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Citing documents reviewed by Fox News, Herridge reported that Chen was the subject of an investigation by the FBI. Chen, who was never charged, has alleged that federal authorities improperly leaked information about her, violating the Privacy Act.

In an effort to prove her case, Chen subpoenaed Herridge and Fox News, with the hope of unmasking the reporting’s sources. Fox News and Herridge aggressively fought the move, arguing that Cooper should quash the subpoenas because of First Amendment protections afforded to the press.

But Cooper disagreed and ordered otherwise, stating that “Chen’s need for the requested evidence overcomes Herridge’s qualified First Amendment privilege in this case.”

That set the stage for a Sept. 26 deposition of Herridge, when the journalist was repeatedly asked how she obtained the information for her 2017 stories. Herridge politely declined to answer dozens of such questions.... (Read more)

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