December 2, 2004

An Obvious Plan?

Justin Katz

I only caught a few minutes of his radio show while I rushed around, but Dan Yorke seems to think it's obvious that Jim Taricani tried to give Bevilacqua up in his "by chance" meeting with FBI agent Dennis Aiken... without actually giving him up. If that's the case, I agree with Yorke that Taricani's freedom-of-the-press-martyr schtick is nauseating. Still, the problem with that argument is that Taricani gave his source away just a couple of hours before his criminal contempt trial. Yorke attributes that to poor planning; I'm not so sure:

Accordingly, immediately prior to the commencement of the criminal contempt trial, this information was provided to Mr. Taricani and his lawyers by the Special Prosecutor. Once again, the Special Prosecutor requested that Mr. Taricani comply with the Court Order and identify how and from whom he obtained the Corrente Videotape; in particular, to confirm that Mr. Bevilacqua was indeed his source. At Mr. Taricani's request, there was a short delay in the start of the criminal contempt trial in order for Mr. Taricani to review this development with his attorneys. Despite this new information, Mr. Taricani decided to continue to refuse to comply with the Court Order compelling him to identify his source and the criminal contempt trial proceeded as scheduled.

That's from Special Prosecutor DeSisto's description of events (PDF). So, Yorke's explanation must be that Taricani tried to pull a last minute escape through the eye of his legal and social needle, only to push his luck to the utmost when given an opportunity to seal the deal. That's absolutely plausible, I should note, and Yorke has followed this ordeal much more thoroughly and for much longer than I have. But it still seems to me that there's some other element at play.