A federal judge sentenced Providence television reporter Jim Taricani to six months of probation, on home confinement, for defying a court order to reveal who illegally gave him a secret FBI videotape that showed a Providence official taking a bribe, the Providence Journal reports. Chief U.S. District Judge Ernest C. Torres told Taricani, 55, that he would have been sent to prison for criminal contempt had it not been for his fragile medical condition. Taricani had a heart transplant in 1996 and a pacemaker installed in 2001, and many other health problems. Torres said the home confinement would be “designed to mirror as close as possible” prison conditions.
Taricani’s “confidential” source, defense lawyer Joseph A. Bevilacqua Jr., admitted that he had given Taricani the tape. “There are no heroes in this soap opera,” Torres said. Bevilacqua is expected to face criminal charges for leaking the tape, in violation of a court order.