As a follow-up to a story I posted last week, the Las Vegas Review-Journal is planning to go to court later this week to try to quash a subpoena requiring them to turn over identifying information on all site visitors who posted comments on one particular news story about a federal criminal tax trial:
The American Civil Liberties Union has offered to represent those who posted comments online.
This past week the grand jury subpoena, which is separate from the ongoing trial but was signed by one of the prosecutors involved in the tax trial, was the topic of discussion between the trial judge and attorneys, revealing for the first time a possible motive for the subpoena.
The newspaper’s subpoena does not explain why the U.S. attorney’s office wants to know who commented on the case, but prosecutors told federal Judge David Ezra that they issued it out of concern for jurors’ safety, because some comments hinted at acts of violence.
In addition to requesting the names of people who posted, the subpoena also tells the newspaper to supply the writers’ gender, birth date, physical address, telephone number, Internet service provider, IP address, credit card numbers and more.
Read more in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The subpoena sounds like a real “reach” to me.