Seattle Prosecutor Disavows Phony News Story Deal

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Chief Prosecutor Norm Maleng of Seattle disapproves of an assistant’s arrangement with a newspaper to publish a fake story to catch a suspect. Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Robert Jamieson reported on the case of the Seattle area’s Eastside Journal (now the King County Journal).

Steven Sherer, in prison for killing his wife, made plans behind bars to exact revenge on the people who put him there by burning down their house. The newspaper agreed to publish a story based on a staged fire set by the authorities.

“We would not have authorized it if we’d known,” Dan Satterberg, chief of staff for Maleng, told Jamieson. “It was not sensitive to the institutional role of the press. It just wasn’t appropriate. We don’t want the public to think we’ve changed the rules in our office.”


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