Update: Nicholas Kristof is not going to jail…

Yesterday we pondered whether New York Times star columnist and Scarsdale resident Nicholas Kristof could end up in jail after a judge in Virginia ruled that the newspaper must disclose several of his sources for columns he wrote back in 2002 about the Anthrax cases.

We called The Times to clarify and a spokeswoman told us that the motion to compel was made against the company, not against Kristof, so he faces no personal liability. Furthermore, it’s highly unlikely that a contempt charge would mean jail in this case, since it is in civil court. It would more likely mean fines. The spokeswoman added the paper is appealing the decision.

Could Nicholas Kristof be heading to jail?

A Virginia judge has ordered the columnist and his newspaper, The Times, to disclose the identities of three confidential sources for a column he wrote about the Anthrax attacks in 2001. The man who became “a person of interest� in the case, Dr. Steven Hatfill, is suing the paper for defamation. He claims a series of columns written by Kristof suggested he was responsible for the attacks that killed five people and seriously scared the crap out of your’s truly.

Mr. Kristof has declined to name the sources but “the judge ruled that the laws of Virginia applied and that under the state’s law, reporters have only a qualified privilege to decline to name their sources that may be outweighed by other factors,� The Times reports.

Kristof, who was named one of the seven most fascinating people in Scarsdale—along with his wife, Times’ journalist Sheryl WuDunn—by Scarsdale Magazine, and has won two Pulitzers for his incredible reporting from overseas, originally wrote about a scientist he referred to as Mr. Z who had become the main focus of the government’s investigation. Later, he acknowledged that Mr. Z was indeed Dr. Hatfill.

The Times is appealing the decision. But the question is: Could Kristof be thrown in prison ala his former colleague, Judith Miller if he refuses to comply? And if he becomes the second major Times’ journo to be forced to reveal his sources this year, what does that say about the state of press freedom in the country today?

Today in Scarsdale Lawsuit News

yoko.jpgYoko Ono, onetime Scarsdale resident and the widow of John Lennon, is suing EMI and Capitol Records for $10 million, claiming they cheated her out of royalties from John Lennon’s records, according to the Associated Press. Ironic, given that Lennon once said, “Music is everybody’s possession. It’s only publishers who think that people own it.â€?

Meanwhile, current Scarsdale resident and the Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof, is at the center of a defamation lawsuit against the paper by Dr. Steven Hatfill, the man who was named as a “person of interest� in the anthrax attacks back in 2002. Kristof had written a series of columns on the investigation and, according to The New York Observer, named Hatfill as the main suspect. Kristof’s reporting was based on five unnamed sources. Hatfill has filed a motion to compel the columnist to reveal those sources. In the wake of the Judith Miller/ Valerie Plame case, there is fear that this lawsuit (which does not name Kristof personally as a defendant) could further harm the paper’s ability to shield confidential sources (or for that matter journalists throughout the country).

Time’s Joe Klein Goes Out On A Limb: Barack Obama Could Possibly Maybe Run For President!!!

Can we all just stipulate here and now that Barack Obama, the freshman senator from Illinois, is the media’s favorite, even if he’s only been in office about two years. But then what’s not to love? He’s charismatic, funny, young, and is neither a Bush nor a Clinton.

Pelham’s Joe Klein reports this week for Time Magazine from the metaphorical campaign trail that has every political reporter licking their lips.

Bonnie Fuller is just like them

On a media panel sponsored by Reuters last week, the Queen of Celebrity Gossip, (and Hastings resident), Bonnie Fuller had a wonderfully awkward exchange with another panelist, who asked her how she felt when the gossip columns wrote about her. Fuller said it was all “just part of the job� and that she accepts the fact that she’s in the public eye.

The moderator asked: So you set the same standard for yourself as you do for the celebrities you cover.

Fuller’s response: “I guess so, yes.�

Does anyone have a photo of Ms. Fuller feeding an ice cream cone to her dog outside Carvel? Or a shot of her schlepping groceries out of the A&P? Please share!!!