Monday, July 25, 2005

Leaked Information Describes Wide-Ranging Corruption Probe of Former Cleveland Mayor

The fall-out from the grand jury investigation of Matthew Cooper/Judith Miler affects other media outlets, and back in June the editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer stated that he would not run a story based on information from confidential sources until the protection for reporters was clarified.  The story has now hit, and the paper has revealed the contents of a 115-page FBI affidavit, which had been sealed by the court, that was used to obtain wiretaps for telephones of Nate Gray, who was the best man at the two weddings of long-time Cleveland Mayor Michael White.  A corruption prosecution of Gray and others ended in a mistrial, and a second trial is scheduled to begin in August.  One of Gray's lawyers admitted that he leaked another document to the Plain-Dealer, which was an FBI summary of an interview with a confidant of Mayor White.  The lawyer claimed that he did not know the document was covered by the court order sealing the documents, although that type of information is not usually a matter of public record and not something that would be given to a reporter if it were otherwise available. The defense received the documents as part of the discovery in the prosecution, and the affidavit (filed in 2002) describes the FBI agent's conclusions regarding alleged bribes paid to Mayor White, who left office in 2002 and has not been charged with any crimes.  The Plain Dealer story (here) describes the affidavit and alleged corruption in the White administration, and a follow-up article (here) describes a hearing before the court in which U.S. District Judge James Gwin called for an investigation of the leaks.  Unlike the leak investigation in Washington, D.C., this case has a more limited universe of potential leakers, although like so many of these types of inquiries it will be very difficult to figure out who leaked the affidavit.  (ph)

Corruption, Media | Permalink

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