A judge yesterday denied Josh Wolf’s latest bid for freedom, rejecting his lawyer’s argument that prison won’t cause him to cough up the outtakes of a videotape he shot of an ararchist protest. Wolf, 24, has said he won’t comply as a matter of principle with a subpoena from federal prosecutors for the tape no matter how long he is confined — and his lawyer argued that the time the freelancer is spending in jail is punitive and therefore illegal. But U.S. District Judge William Alsup turned down the motion in a one-paragraph ruling today (Jan. 30), saying that suggestions of compromise by one of Wolf’s lawyers reveal “a realistic possibility that Mr. Wolf’s confinement may be having its coercive effect,” according to Bay City News Service.
As of Jan. 30, Wolf has been imprisoned for 163 days, and it is likely that he will become the longest held journalist in U.S. history. The record for longest a journalist held in prison has been held by Houston reporter Vanessa Leggett who was jailed for 168 days in 2002 for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury and turn over her research materials. In 2005, New York Times reporter Judith Miller was released after 85 days in jail for refusing to name her sources in a grand jury investigation.