A media-confidential source case is brewing in Cleveland. The U.S. attorney’s office wants a hearing to find out who leaked documents to the Cleveland Plain Dealer that revealed former Mayor Michael White was the target of a probe that led to the indictment of consultant Nate Gray, one of White’s best friends. U.S. Attorney Gregory White said it appeared from stories in yesterday’s Plain Dealer and this week’s Scene magazine that at least three documents a federal judge sealed were improperly disclosed. White said the disclosure “has the potential for compromising an ongoing investigation.” He added: “Clearly somebody violated a court order here. We have to address that in one way or another. We’re not just willing to walk away from it.” Prosecutors believe defense attorneys leaked the materials.
The stories detailed the federal government’s theory of widespread corruption at Cleveland City Hall, described by the FBI in a 115-page affidavit seeking wiretaps on Gray’s telephones. Plain Dealer editor Doug Clifton said in a June 30 column that the paper would not publish two stories that were based on leaked documents and could result in trouble for the people who leaked them; one story involved the Gray case. Clifton said the paper would honor its promises of confidentiality.