After Jim Taricani, investigative reporter for NBC Universal-owned WJAR Providence, R.I., was convicted last month for criminal contempt for refusing to reveal the identity of a source, the reporter’s source has come forward.
Attorney Joseph Bevilacqua, a lawyer for one of the men convicted in the corruption scandal Taricani investigated three years ago, told a special prosecutor Nov. 24 that he had provided the reporter with an FBI undercover videotape of a mayor’s aide taking a bribe. However, Bevilacqua says he never asked the reporter to keep his identity confidential.
Taricani, however, denies Bevilacqua’s version. “I would never have jeopardized my health and reputation, and put my family and my company through this ordeal, if my source had not required a promise of confidentiality,” he said in a statement. “Mr. Bevilacqua repeatedly insisted that I keep his name in confidence, despite the fact that he had signed a waiver. He told me that he had to sign the waiver. Otherwise, it would have raised suspicions that he was my source. As a result, I upheld my promise to him. Mr. Bevilacqua’s allegations that it was not necessary for me to keep his confidence are simply untrue.”
Taricani is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 9 in Rhode Island U.S. District Court and could face six months in prison. It is unclear how Bevilacqua’s admission will impact his sentencing.