A legal consultant who admitted to leaking confidential Los Angeles police information to a KCBS-TV reporter was sentenced to 60 days in prison for contempt of court. An appeal is likely.
The files Robert Mullally says he leaked to reporter Harvey Levin, now a producer with The People's Court, concerned the internal handling of domestic-violence charges against police officers. Mullally had access to the files when he was working for an attorney bringing civil charges against a policeman-later a suicide-suspected of killing his wife and her lover.
Levin's series on domestic violence by police has been credited with prompting reforms on police handling of such cases. Activist group The Feminist Majority regards Mullally as heroic and has called his prosecution "tragic." But the judge, according to local reports, said, "the system has to be vindicated."
Lucy Dalglish, executive director of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said she was not familiar with the case but commented generally that there is too much information sealed in court documents. "On the other hand, it's risky to leak something out of a court file. We don't advocate people violating a court order." Still, she lamented that the punishment handed to Mullally would discourage other whistleblowers and potential media sources.
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