Shifting Objectives (?)
Frankly, I just don’t know what to make of this:
… special prosecutor Marc DeSisto says in court papers filed this morning that Bevilacqua never asked Taricani to keep his identity confidential and that the defense lawyer urged the reporter more than 2 1/2 years ago to tell DeSisto that he was his source. …
DeSisto says that last Wednesday, after he subpoenaed Bevilacqua, the defense lawyer admitted under oath that he was the source for the secret FBI videotape that Channel 10 aired on Feb. 1, 2001. He had previously denied to DeSisto, also under oath on Feb. 6, 2002, that he was the source.
So now that DeSisto has found the criminal for whom he’d been searching — a man who has in the interim added perjury to his offenses — the prosecutor takes the law-breaking lawyer entirely at his word on the matter of Jim Taricani’s involvement? Odd.
DeSisto argues in the court papers that “any obligation that Mr. Taricani felt to keep his source private should have dissolved upon presentation of the waiver of confidentiality” in the spring of 2002. But “more egregiously,” DeSisto contends, instead of complying with his source’s wishes…Mr. Taricani specifically asked Mr. Bevilacqua not to reveal his identity.”
Note that “more egregiously.” Reading DeSisto’s full statement (PDF), it is clearly presented in opposition to the request for leniency filed by Taricani’s lawyers. Taricani, in his DeSisto’s narrative, becomes more of an obscurantist than the guy facing charges. It’s also interesting to note, in the full reply, that Bevilacqua didn’t come forward out of the blue; rather, he confessed only after he’d been made aware that Taricani had given too much away in private conversation with another interested party (FBI agent Dennis Aiken).
It’s difficult to know whose side to take in a court v. lawyer v. reporter battle — even more so in a state with as much mutual back scratching as Rhode Island. But I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something more to this than the simple explanation of either a martyrdom-seeking journalist or a defense-preparing lawyer. I’ll be very curious to see what the future holds for Mr. Bevilacqua, especially with regards to DeSisto’s involvement in it.