Jackson Hole newspaper fights reporter's subpoena

Jackson Hole News & Guide fights subpoena for reporter in 'Robin Hood' bank robbery trial

Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- A Wyoming newspaper is fighting a subpoena from federal prosecutors who want a reporter to testify about her interview of a man accused of bank robbery.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide on Wednesday asked U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson to quash the subpoena for reporter Emma Breysse.

Johnson has scheduled a hearing Thursday in Cheyenne on the newspaper's request.

Breysse interviewed Corey Allan Donaldson, who is charged with stealing more than $140,000 from bank in Jackson. She reported that Donaldson told her that he robbed the bank so he could give money to the poor.

The newspaper's publisher, Kevin Olson, said forcing Breysse to testify would have a chilling effect on newsgathering.

"The trust a source has with a reporter needs to be protected," Olson said Wednesday.

Jim Angell, executive director of the Wyoming Press Association, said reporters shouldn't be expected to do the job of law enforcement or prosecutors. The Associated Press is a member of the press association.

Angell noted that Donaldson has issued news releases detailing his "Robin Hood" defense. "Why do they need a reporter to tell them what's in the news release that came from this guy himself?" he asked.

John Powell, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Cheyenne, said Wednesday he had no comment on Donaldson's case. Donaldson's trial is scheduled to start Monday.

Federal prosecutors have asked Johnson to prohibit Donaldson, who's acting as his own attorney, from arguing that he was justified in robbing the bank. The judge has appointed an assistant federal public defender to assist Donaldson.

Donaldson, 39, is originally from Australia and was living in Sandy, Utah, before his arrest.

Prosecutors say Donaldson persuaded the bank manager to turn over cash by saying Mexican cartels would blow up the bank and kill them both if the manager didn't do so.

Prosecutors wrote to the judge that Donaldson's Robin Hood defense is "completely contrary to any cartel story."

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