Judge Holds Catherine Herridge in Contempt, Orders Fines Until She Reveals Sources

2024-03-01 08:00:18

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington held veteran investigative Catherine Herridge in contempt and ordered a fine of $800 a day until she reveals her sources for a 2017 story.

Cooper claimed he “recognizes the paramount importance of a free press in our society.” He also claimed he understands that confidential sources are vital to investigative journalism.

Uh huh.

Cooper’s excuse is that “the court ‘also has its own role to play in upholding the law and safeguarding judicial authority.’”

Cooper wrote in his order: “Herridge and many of her colleagues in the journalism community may disagree with that decision and prefer that a different balance be struck, but she is not permitted to flout a federal court’s order with impunity.”

The fiasco centers around Yanping Chen, the subject of Herridge’s story at Fox News in 2017. Herridge’s investigation examined alleged ties between Yen and her husband, J. Davidson Frame’s tax-payer-funded school, the University of Management and Technology in Rosslyn, VA, to the Chinese military.

FBI sources revealed the information to Herridge, including other information that troubled the DOJ, Pentagon, ICE, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS):

In December 2012, the FBI made two very public raids of UMT and the northern Virginia home of university president Yanping Chen Frame and its academic dean, her husband J. Davidson Frame. Documents reviewed by Fox News show it was a counter-intelligence case, known as a “200d,” one of the most highly sensitive categories for a federal probe.

Photos, exclusively obtained by Fox News, appear to show Chen as a young officer in the People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of China’s communist party. Another photo shows Frame saluting his wife, Chen, who is holding a uniform. Three independent experts said it was a Chinese military colonel’s uniform.

Yet since those FBI raids, UMT has continued to collect more than $6 million from Defense Department tuition assistance programs as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs through the post-9/11 GI bill.

Stephen Rhoads recruited vets for UMT. He became a whistleblower and worked with the FBI on the case.

But other information came from unnamed sources, including photographs of Chen and information from her immigration and naturalization forms:

Chen sued the FBI and Justice Department in 2018, accusing the government of violating the Privacy Act — which prohibits the public disclosure of private information about individuals without their consent. Chen’s lawsuit says both her personal and professional life were upended amid a wave of negative media attention after the leak, leading to hate mail and death threats.

An attorney for Chen, Andrew Phillips, said the Privacy Act is meant to guard against government officials selectively leaking information about an American’s citizen’s private life “to smear reputations or score political points.”

“Such misconduct should not be without recourse just because a rogue government official happens to launder his or her wrongdoing via a journalist,” Phillips said in an email. “Today’s ruling is an important one to ensure that government officials can be held to account for outrageous abuses of power.”

Herridge refused to name her sources when asked under oath in September despite a judge order to do so: “My understanding is that the courts have ruled that in order to seek further judicial review in this case, I must now decline the order, and respectfully I am invoking my First Amendment rights in declining to answer the question.”

Herridge has long been a respected investigative journalist at Fox News and CBS News. She has always faced the wrath of the left when she exposed anything negative about Democrats.

The wrath grew when she went to CBS News, which used to be the home of Sheryl Attkisson, who helped expose Operation Fast & Furious. Attkisson eventually left in 2014 due to the organization’s liberal bias.

Attkisson, who worked at CBS since 1993, also investigated Republican administrations. Nothing bothered people until she continued doing her job during President Obama’s administration.

Herridge worked at Fox News from 1996 to 2019. She joined CBS News, where she continued to do her investigation reporting.

In 2020, the left roared when Herridge reported then-acting DNU Richard Grenell notified Congress of the declassified unmasking list. It included many Obama officials. As Mike wrote, the list said “then-Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama’s Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, ‘submitted requests to the National Security Agency at any point between 8 November 2016 and 31 January 2017, to unmask the identity of former National Security Advisor’ Michael Flynn.”

CBS News laid off Herridge and others in February 2024.

But CBS News wasn’t finished with Herridge. The network seized her confidential files despite knowing she had this battle with Chen.

Herridge worked on the Hunter Biden laptop story for CBS. I don’t believe in coincidences.

The network took her files, computers, and records. It included information on confidential sources. Professor Jonathan Hurley wrote:

The position of CBS has alarmed many, including the union, as an attack on free press principles by one of the nation’s most esteemed press organizations.

I have spoken confidentially with current and former CBS employees who have stated that they could not recall the company ever taking such a step before. One former CBS journalist said that many employees “are confused why [Herridge] was laid off, as one of the correspondents who broke news regularly and did a lot of original reporting.”

That has led to concerns about the source of the pressure. He added that he had never seen a seizure of records from a departing journalist, and that the move had sent a “chilling signal” in the ranks of CBS.

Thankfully, the public, media, and Republicans in Congress made enough noise. CBS News returned everything to Herridge.


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Judge Holds Catherine Herridge in Contempt, Orders Fines Until She Reveals Sources


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