Judge allows subpoena for records from newspaper

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 22, 2014 at 5:59 pm •  Published: January 22, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal magistrate has allowed a defense attorney to subpoena records from a New Orleans news organization about comments anonymously posted on its website, the latest response to a scandal that led to the resignation of the region's top federal prosecutor.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Wilkinson on Tuesday approved the subpoena request by a lawyer for former New Orleans Affordable Homeownership executive director Stacey Jackson, who was indicted last year on federal charges including theft and bribery.

NOLA Media Group, which operates The Times-Picayune newspaper and its companion website, has 10 days to respond to the subpoena. Jackson's lawyer, Edward Castaing, said Wednesday that he plans to serve NOLA Media Group with the subpoena this week.

A Times-Picayune report on Wednesday said the news organization's usual policy is to keep such information private "to the extent possible." NOLA Media Group said in a statement that it "takes user privacy very seriously. Once we receive the subpoena, we will consider how best to respond."

Former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten resigned in December 2012 after two of his top deputies acknowledged posting anonymous comments on nola.com about cases handled by their New Orleans-based office.

Castaing wants to know whether other law-enforcement personnel who haven't been unmasked yet have posted anonymous comments on nola.com related to his client's case.

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