Josh Wolf to Be Released from Prison

Josh Wolf, the SF-based video journalist who was stuck in federal prison when he wouldn’t hand over his video from a San Francisco protest at which a police car was damaged and an officer hurt, is being released, according to the Chronicle via Poynter and Eat the Press.

According to the Chronicle, Wolf agreed to give up the video if the prosecutors would agree not to ask him to ID any of the protesters and would not call him to testify. In the same article, one of his lawyers said the deal finally agreed upon was something Wolf had told prosecutors he’d do back in November.

From the Chronicle article:

Wolf posted the uncut video on his Web site, gave prosecutors a copy and denied under oath that he knew anything about violent incidents at the July 2005 protest. In return, his lawyers said, prosecutors agreed not to summon him before the grand jury or ask him to identify any of the protesters shown on his video.

Wolf, whom I met in San Francisco during filming for an HBO show that never materialized, said at a news conference in front of the Federal Correction Institution in Dublin (East Bay), where he’d been confined in for seven and a half months, that his experienced proved the need for a national press shield law. I agree with him whole-heartedly. He was charged with contempt in federal court because he was immune under California’s shield law.

In addition to the video, prosecutors required that Wolf answer two questions under oath, in writing: whether he ever saw anyone throw or shoot any object at a police car or learned about anyone who did so, and whether he knew whom Officer Peter Shields was trying to arrest when he was hit from behind and suffered a fractured skull. Wolf answered no to both questions in a court filing today before his release.

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