Glenn Beck producers Joel Cheatwood and Joe Weasel are refusing to reveal the sources that falsely claimed a Saudi Arabian student injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing was involved in the terrorist plot, despite a judge’s order.
Saudi Arabian student Abdulrahman Alharbi was injured at the scene of the Boston Marathon bombing. Beck reported that veteran officials of the Department of Homeland Security named Alharbi as someone responsible for the attacks, even after investigators and officials cleared him of any wrongdoing. Beck refused to accept it and continued reporting the inaccuracy. Alharbi has since sued Beck and his show for defamation.
In a defamation case, the accused must provide information that verifies that their claims are true. We’re seeing the same thing with the new Trump lawsuit against the Daily Mail and other outlets who alleged that Melania Trump was once an escort. The Trumps have said that these outlets have defamed Mrs. Trump for reporting an inaccurate story and unless they too can provide proof they’re liable.
In Beck’s case, Judge Saris ordered depositions from both producers, which she later said were intentionally vague and provided no information to support the claim that Alharbi was responsible for the Boston bombing. She further requested documents from the government about the investigation, all of which prove that Alharbi was not involved.
According to Politico, Judge Saris admitted that there are “First Amendment concerns” when it comes to requesting a news outlet divulge their sources, but those concerns could be restricting the release of the information.
Beck’s producers have refused to comply with the order. In a letter to Judge Saris, attorney Michael Grygiel wrote, “Defendants cannot disclose the identities of Confidential Sources 1 and 2 for several compelling reasons. First and foremost, as a matter of fundamental journalistic integrity, Defendants cannot disclose the identities of the Confidential Sources without their authorization.”
He continued that the sources are aware of the lawsuit and are “unwilling” to be identified, even though their names would not be part of the court record.
“As previously represented to the Court, Defendants are justifiably concerned that substantial harm could come to the Confidential Sources if they are identified. Second, if Mr. Weasel were to disclose the identities of the Confidential Sources, it is a near certainty that no confidential sources would ever again speak to Mr. Weasel or The Blaze Inc. and its affiliates, to the detriment of an informed public,” Grygiel wrote.
If the producers do not name the source they could be held in contempt of court and jailed. According to the attorney, Beck never had contact with the sources and wouldn’t have first hand information on Alharbi.