New York Times reporter Judith Miller went to jail this week for refusing to reveal confidential sources. The attorney for Miller and the Times is Floyd Abrams, who spoke with The Journal about the case, about his career, and also about his new book, "Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendment."
Miller faced imprisonment after the U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to hear her appeal and also an appeal by another reporter, Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine. A judge had held both reporters in contempt for not talking to the grand jury probing an alleged leak by someone in the Bush administration. The investigation centers on who may have violated federal law by disclosing the identity of a covert CIA agent. The leak of the agent's name, Valerie Plame, could have been retaliation, because it occurred shortly after Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, became a public critic of the Bush administration.
Cooper avoided jail time after agreeing to testify. He said his confidential source had, at the last moment, given him clearance to answer questions. Miller could remain in custody for as long as four months - until the grand jury completes its term.
In the interview, Abrams also talked of the Jewish perspective in his legal work, and about his role this year as an adviser to a Columbia University committee assembled following high-profile allegations of campus anti-Semitism.