JUST IN: Judge holds Catherine Herridge in contempt for refusing to expose source

Herridge has been fined $800 per day that she refuses to comply.

A federal judge has held Catherine Herridge in civil contempt after the ex-CBS reporter refused to expose her source. The source was part of her reporting into a Chinese American scientist who had been investigated by the FBI. That individual was never charged.

That scientist, Yanping Chen has "sued the government over the leak of details about the federal probe into statements she made on immigration forms related to work on a Chinese astronaut program," ABC reports. Herridge reported on Chen in 2017, looking into a connection between Chen and the Chinese military.

Herridge asked if Chen, who had founded a professional school in Virginia, was using that affiliation to help the CCP gather information about American military personnel. Chen sued the FBI in 2018, saying that her information was leaked in an effort to "smear her reputation and damage her livelihood."

The judge in Herridge's case has said that Chen's need to know who the source is that leaked to Herridge is more important than Herridge's right to protect her source. The judge weighed that need against the "vital importance of a free press and the critical role" that this freedom plays for journalists.

Herridge has been fined $800 per day that she refuses to comply. Judge Christopher Cooper of the US District Court in Washington said that the fine will not immediately go into effect, giving Herridge a chance to appeal.

Cooper, who was nominated to the bench by Barack Obama, said in his ruling that while he "recognizes the paramount importance of a free press in our society," the court "also has its own role to play in upholding the law and safeguarding judicial authority."

"Herridge and many of her colleagues in the journalism community may disagree with that decision and prefer that a different balance be struck, but she is not permitted to flout a federal court’s order with impunity," Cooper said.

"Holding a journalist in contempt for protecting a confidential source has a deeply chilling effect on journalism," a Fox media spokesperson told The Post Millennial. "FOX News Media remains committed to protecting the rights of a free press and freedom of speech and believes this decision should be appealed.”

Herridge's 2017 reporting on Chen was reliant on "items leaked from the probe, including snippets of an FBI document summarizing an interview conducted during the investigation, personal photographs, and information taken from her immigration and naturalization forms and from an internal FBI PowerPoint presentation," her lawyers attest. 

Herridge has refused to give up her source.
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Hang in there, Catherine.

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