Court stays transcript order

Producer threatened with jail

An appeals court granted a temporary delay Friday to CBS News producer Mary Mapes, who had been threatened with jail after she refused to turn over a transcript of an interview with dragging-death defendant Shawn Allen Berry.

Mapes was subpoenaed two weeks ago by prosecutors and ordered to hand over a transcript and outtakes from CBS News anchor Dan Rather’s interview with Berry, which aired Sept. 28 on “60 Minutes II.” Berry is on trial for murder in the dragging death of James Byrd Jr., a black East Texas man.

On Friday morning, state district Judge Joe Bob Golden told the Dallas-based producer to meet a 3 p.m. deadline to produce the materials or report to Jasper County Jail.

However, a court of appeals issued a stay just minutes after the deadline, preventing enforcement of the judge’s order and setting another hearing for Thursday.

CBS News spokeswoman Sandy Genelius confirmed Friday that a stay in the order had been issued, adding, “I can verify that (Mapes) is not in jail.”

Mapes reportedly told the judge the transcripts were not in her possession. Mapes’ attorney, Charles Babcock, is seeking an appeal.

Last week, prosecutors initiated proceedings to require Rather to testify about his interview with Berry.

CBS News president Andrew Heyward said the company would fight both subpoena requests. “Important First Amendment issues are at stake in this case. We are pursuing the legal means available to us to protect our constitutional rights,” Heyward said in a statement.

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