Eagle-Tribune Defends Right to Photograph Man Accused of Offering Bribe to Methuen Mayor

November 26, 2008

A man testifying before a Civil Service Commission in connection with his attempt to bribe Methuen (MA) Mayor William Manzi, wants to fine The Eagle-Tribune $65,000 and find them in contempt for photographing him leaving the Commission.

According to Eagle-Tribune attorney Robert Bertsche, the newspaper was “exercising its First Amendment right to photograph in public places.”  The Eagle-Tribune did not photograph him during his testimony or outside the hearing room, but following the freedoms provided for the press in the U.S. Constitution, Bertsche said that the newspaper was within its First Amendment rights to take the man’s photo outside the building.

“The press can take photographs from a public place,” said Bertsche during a subsequent hearing on the matter. “The issue is not about good journalism, it’s not about good manners. It’s about the law.”

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