Court Blocks Fines Against Reporter

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A federal appeals court on Tuesday blocked fines up to $5,000 that a former USA Today reporter was ordered to pay each day she refuses to reveal her confidential sources for stories about the criminal investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks.

The appeals court granted the request of Toni Locy, who had been ordered by a federal judge to pay the fines out of her own pocket while she appeals an order finding her in contempt of court.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton is demanding that Locy provide the names of all dozen or so Justice Department and FBI sources who provided her information for stories on the probe into the anthrax attacks.

The order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia means Locy will not have to pay the fines or face further sanctions including possibly being sent to jail while her lawyers fight Walton's contempt ruling.

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