Judge: Reporter won’t have to testify at Malheur trial

Sepulvado fought the subpoena to testify about Ryan Bundy

Federal Judge Anna J. Brown on the opening day of the trial for the 7 defendants in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation trial, September 13, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – A federal judge says a former Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter won’t have to testify at the ongoing conspiracy trial of four men who occupied a national wildlife refuge.

Asserting journalist’s privilege, OPB and reporter John Sepulvado fought a government subpoena to testify about whether his January 2016 story about occupation leader Ryan Bundy was authentic and accurately depicted Bundy’s point of view.

The defense contends Bundy’s words shouldn’t be admitted as evidence because it’s unknown what questions were asked and what responses were omitted during the editing process. Defense attorney Jesse Merrithew said the reporter’s tweets indicated bias against the occupiers.

U.S. District Judge Anna Brown said it would be impossible to question Sepulvado about the accuracy of his story without getting into his editorial process. She granted OPB’s motion to quash the subpoena.