Local Politics Blog 1, Secretive Bronx DA's Office 0


The legal travails of Room Eight, a blog dedicated to NY politics (its name refers to "Room 9," which is where the press corps are located in City Hall), are examined in today's NY Times. In a nutshell, Bronx DA Robert Johnson's office subpoenaed the blog's co-founders Ben Smith and Gur Tsabar, demanding the IP address of an anonymous contributor. And what's more, they were not allowed to even disclose the existence of the subpoena of they “could impede the investigation being conducted and thereby interfere with law enforcement."

The subpoena related to information about a blogger--Republican Dissident--who was critical of the Bronx GOP and recommended someone run against DA Johnson. When Smith and Tsabar asked for more information about why the subpoena was needed, they were given none--Smith told the Times he's not averse to helping the authorities, but "Was somebody found face-down on their keyboard and the I.P. address was going to help identify the killer?...We’re not free speech absolutists here." So they sued with the help of a pro bono legal organization and the subpoena eventually withdrawn. Today, Smith and Tsabar write on Room 8:

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