The Second Circuit has rebuffed the New York Times’ attempt to get access to the information learned from wire taps of the folks involved in the Emperor’s Club, the same organization that brought down Eliot Spitzer.
The opinion is here.
The result seems obvious, to me at least. Certain parts of a judicial proceeding are not public. Grand jury proceedings, for example. The court lists these proceedings at length in footnote 4.
Wiretaps just look more like grand jury proceedings than, say, public criminal trials. There is, thus, no First Amendment right of access for the press, just like there’s no First Amendment right of access to a grand jury.
Though, happily, there is reason to think that we may have Eliot Spitzer to kick around a little bit more, despite the Second Circuit’s ruling.
If you have questions about how federal criminal charges are different than state criminal charges, please visit this page on Maryland federal criminal charges or Washington DC federal criminal charges.