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Jim Mustain / The New Orleans Advocate

Citing 'very serious constitutional issues,' a federal judge ruled Wednesday that a reporter for The New Orleans Advocate would not have to reveal the unnamed sources he used in writing a 2012 newspaper article that predicted federal prosecutors were preparing an indictment that would charge alleged drug lord Telly Hankton and several of his associates in a massive racketeering case.

In an unusual court proceeding, the reporter, John Simerman, was compelled to testify after U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman allowed defense attorneys to subpoena him about an October 2012 meeting Simerman and two other reporters had with FBI agents just days before the lengthy article appeared in The Times-Picayune, where Simerman worked at the time.

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