Ashenfelter seeks immediate ruling on Fifth Amendment

Detroit Free Press reporter David Ashenfelter wants a federal court in Michigan to immediately rule on the legitimacy of his invocation of the Fifth Amendment to protect confidential sources, the newspaper reports.

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Ashenfelter is in a protracted subpoena battle with former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino, who is seeking Ashenfelter’s testimony for his Privacy Act lawsuit against the government.Ashenfelter claims his rights were violated when word leaked to Ashenfelterthat the Department of Justice wasinvestigating him forhis conductduring the 2003 Detroit sleeper cell terrorism trial.

Earlier in March, Ashenfelter filed a sealed affidavit with Judge Robert Cleland in Detroit, explaining his fear of prosecution and his reasons for invoking the Fifth Amendment to protect his sources. On Monday, the reporter filed more papers with the court, this time asking Cleland to make an immediate ruling as to whether those fears are justified.

If the judge concludes that Ashenfelter lacked a basis for invoking the Fifth Amendment, his lawyer Herschel Fink told the Free Press that they would appeal his case to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati (6th Cir.).