Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck
Photograph by Alex Wong — Getty Images
By Madeline Farber
August 10, 2016

Glenn Beck has to reportedly reveal at least two confidential sources who informed his coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

The ruling comes in connection to a defamation lawsuit filed against the conservative radio host.

After the bombing in April 2013, Beck accused Abdulrahman Alharbi of planning and financially assisting in the bombing, and on The Glenn Beck Show, he called Alharbi the “money man” behind the attack.

Alharbi, who was injured in the blast, was initially named as a “person of interest,” but authorities cleared him. But that didn’t stop Beck from insisting on the 23-year-old Saudi Arabian student’s involvement, leading Alharbi to file a defamation suit against the host in 2014.

Judge Patti Saris deemed the testimonies given by Beck and his coworkers regarding the information provided by the anonymous sources were “vague and often contradictory,” according to Politico.

“None of the documents supports the idea that Alharbi was the ‘the money man’ financing the Boston Marathon attacks,” she wrote wrote in her 61-page ruling provided to Politico on Tuesday.

It’s not clear if Beck will comply with the disclosure order, which applies to him and his companies, TheBlaze Inc., Mercury Radio Arts, and radio distributor Premiere Radio Networks. If he refuses, he could be subject to fines and even jail for contempt.

 

Sources will sometimes ask a reporter if they can remain confidential because they’re providing information that could lead to retribution or exposes matters of public importance, according to the Reporters Committee, an advocacy group for journalists. Commonly known as “reporter’s privilege,” journalists will often keep the names of their sources confidential—even in a courtroom—to protect the identity of their sources. Many believe it’s part of a journalist’s First Amendment rights.

But reporter’s privilege is less ironclad than say, doctor-patient confidentiality. Attorneys, the government, and courts often don’t recognize it and will demand that journalists reveal confidential sources and information. Critics of reporter’s privilege argue that the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trail outweighs any First Amendment rights a reporter may have, especially if the source’s information may be crucial to a case.

Fortune has reached out to Beck and will update the story if he or one of his representatives responds.

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