An appeals court granted a temporary delay today to a CBS News producer ordered to turn over a transcript of an interview with a dragging death defendant or go to jail.
Mary Mapes was subpoenaed last week for a transcript and outtakes from Dan Rather's interview with Shawn Allen Berry that aired Sept. 28 on "60 Minutes II."
Judge Joe Bob Golden told the Dallas-based producer to turn over the transcript by 3 p.m. today or report to Jasper County Jail. However, an appeals court issued a stay just minutes after the deadline, and set another hearing for Thursday.
Mapes's attorneys have argued handing over material that has not been broadcast violates First Amendment protections for the media and could compromise journalists' ability to report the news.
Prosecutors say they want to compare Berry's statements in the interview to others he gave during the investigation into the June 7, 1998, dragging death of James Byrd Jr. Mapes "is clearly a witness to statements made by Shawn Berry out of court, and they are admissible against him," said Brit Featherston, an assistant U.S. attorney working with county prosecutors.
Earlier in the week, prosecutors initiated proceedings to require Rather to testify about the interview. CBS News President Andrew Heyward said the company would fight the request.
"We are pursuing the legal means at our disposal to protect our constitutional rights and not turn over what we consider private, confidential journalistic materials," he said on "The CBS Evening News."
Under the process to obtain a subpoena for a witness who lives outside of Texas, the request was sent to New York authorities, and a judge there will decide whether to compel Rather to testify.