FAIRBANKS — A former state representative who writes a political blog refused Thursday to reveal who provided him information about U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller during his 2010 campaign, repeatedly claiming reporter’s privilege during a deposition.
Andrew Halcro was deposed by Miller’s legal team in Miller’s claim against the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Miller alleges that confidential information from his borough personnel file was improperly leaked to the media during his unsuccessful run against Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
The action is an outgrowth, and legally a part of, lawsuits brought against the borough in 2010 by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and the Alaska Dispatch for access to borough records about Miller’s employment at the borough.
Halcro, a Murkowski supporter and former Anchorage legislator, included several items on his blog in the summer of 2010 that questioned Miller’s work history as a part-time borough attorney.
One brief entry stated Miller had been fired from his job at the borough, while another questioned Miller’s rehire status.
Halcro said there was a source for that information, but he declined to reveal it. He did rule out some possibilities, however, saying it didn’t come from a borough employee.
His attorney, Jeff Feldman, later clarified that the statement included both past and present borough employees.
The borough released a statement earlier this month denying its employees had leaked any information.
Halcro declined to narrow the possibilities any further, claiming a legal privilege when asked whether his source was former borough Mayor Jim Whitaker or a past or present elected official.
The information Halcro posted on his blog wasn’t completely accurate. A broad release of Miller’s personnel file was approved by a judge in the weeks before the election in response to the media lawsuits, and those documents revealed Miller had resigned over a dispute over leave time. Miller was ineligible for hire for three years, the borough determined, because he had given insufficient notice of his intent to leave borough employment.
Halcro has poked fun at the scheduled deposition on his blog, posting videos this week that made light of his appearance. Two clips from Al Pacino movies appeared Thursday, including one where he proclaimed he was “not a snitch.”
The ability of a blogger to claim a reporter’s privilege is an untested area in Alaska. The state law that protects news organizations from revealing confidential sources dates back to the 1970s, long before the Internet became a common method for distributing information.
Since Halcro’s objections may still need be resolved by a court, Miller attorney John Tiemessen said at the end of Thursday’s session he would hold the deposition open for more possible questions in the future.
Contact News-Miner staff writer Jeff Richardson at 907-459-7518 or .