Brooks trial judge asked to make Newsday reveal sources

David Brooks, former head of DHB Industries of David Brooks, former head of DHB Industries of Westbury outside federal court in Central Islip. (June 3, 2008) Photo Credit: James Carbone

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Defense attorneys for former body-armor executive David Brooks asked a judge Wednesday to compel a Newsday reporter to reveal the sources who described Brooks' complaint about his conditions of custody at the Nassau County jail in East Meadow.

The information was included in a story in Tuesday's edition that described a defense motion objecting to aspects of Brooks' confinement.

Attorneys for Brooks, who is awaiting a verdict in a $185-million fraud case, asked U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert to compel reporter Robert E. Kessler to reveal his sources of the information, which defense attorneys said was contained in a sealed motion.

Defense attorney Richard Levitt of Manhattan said in court the leak was "a very serious matter, particularly during jury deliberations."

Newsday's attorney, Amanda Leith of Manhattan, said Newsday and Kessler were exercising Kessler's reportorial privilege to protect confidential sources. She also argued that "clearly there is a public interest in the subject of the article, how the government is treating defendants in custody," and asked for time to prepare a written response objecting to Kessler being questioned.

Seybert gave the attorney until Saturday to respond and said she'd revisit the issue on Monday.

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