When Free Speech Becomes A Crime: NYT Edition
New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof asked for IRS employees to commit a crime. He wants someone to leak to him President Trump’s tax returns. This is technically the solicitation of a felony. The problem is being able to prove intent. There are ways to skirt around the charge. But, if he does receive and publish, then he has committed a felony himself.
As Written By Kathryn Watson for the Daily Caller:
It’s possible New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof crossed the free speech line into criminal solicitation of a felony Monday when he tweeted where IRS employees could send him President Donald Trump’s tax returns, legal experts say.
But if you’re in IRS and have a certain president’s tax return that you’d like to leak, my address is: NYT, 620 Eighth Ave, NY NY 10018. https://t.co/ujYe100Tn9
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) March 6, 2017
At least, it’s up for debate.
An IRS employee’s disclosure of tax returns to an unauthorized person is a felony, and federal law prohibits anyone from soliciting a crime. The First Amendment “wouldn’t immunize” that, wrote UCLA law professor and Washington Post columnist Eugene Volokh Monday.
“I think that asking IRS employees — even if not a specific employee — to leak a specific document is likely to be enough to put the statement on the solicitation side of the line, rather than the mere advocacy side” of……
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