Federal judge imposes gag order on reporter

A federal judge in Massachusetts last week imposed a gag order against The Standard-Times in New Bedford, barring it from publishing what reporter Ray Henry heard on March 31 at a court hearing on a motion by an accused drug trafficker.

The gag order expired this morning when federal prosecutors failed to file an appeal.

During the March 31 hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert E. Keeton, federal prosecutors disclosed what the court determined was privileged information without first determining who was in the courtroom. The session was not closed to the public and the reporter and others were permitted by a U.S. marshal to enter.

The gag order was set to expire at 11 a.m. today, unless prosecutors or defense lawyers asked the Court of Appeals to intervene. The newspaper called the gag order prior restraint of its First Amendment rights.

See the Standard-Times report: S-T challenges gag order in drug case.

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