U.S. blogger free after 226 days in jail

Posted on Wednesday, April 04 2007 @ 17:24 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
A 24 year old U.S. video blogger has been released on Tuesday after spending 226 days in jail because he refused to hand over a video he had shot of an anarchist protest in San Francisco on July 8, 2005:
The video blogger held a press conference on the steps of San Francisco's City Hall on Tuesday evening following his release from a Dublin, Calif., federal correctional unit, where he was held for 226 days in contempt of court.

Wolf, 24, read a prepared statement to the small crowd of media and well-wishers. In it, he quoted a dissenting opinion from 1972's U.S. v. Caldwell, a case concerning coercion of a journalist's testimony, saying, "As the years pass the power of government becomes more and more pervasive. It is a power to suffocate both people and causes. Those in power, whatever their politics, want only to perpetuate it. Now that the fences of the law and the tradition that has protected the press are broken down, the people are the victims. The First Amendment, as I read it, was designed precisely to prevent that tragedy."

Wolf was held in contempt of court last year when he refused to hand over video he had shot of an anarchist protest in San Francisco on July 8, 2005. He was released Tuesday after agreeing to publish the unedited video on his blog, without being forced to testify before a grand jury regarding the content of the video, an outcome which he deemed a victory.

He also agreed to answer two questions posed by the prosecution, but only after reviewing the questions beforehand, he emphasized. The questions were whether he knew the identity of the person who threw an object at the police car during the protest, and if he could identify the person that Officer Pete Shields, injured during the protest, was pursuing at the time. Wolf said he answered "no" to both. He agreed to answer the questions because "there was nothing to be given by them," said.

Answering the prosecution's questions was "a choice that I made, and I do think that it was a good decision," Wolf said.

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