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Texas Rep. Wants Writer Freed

November 23, 2001

HOUSTON (AP) _ U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee called on Attorney General John Ashcroft to free a novice crime writer jailed for not surrendering her notes on a book about a Houston socialite’s murder.

Vanessa Leggett, 33, was ordered held in July after a federal judge found her in contempt of court for refusing to give a grand jury notes from interviews related to the 1997 shooting death of Doris Angleton.

In her letter Wednesday to Ashcroft, Lee said Leggett should be released on bail for humanitarian reasons.

``Ms. Leggett presents no risk of flight, nor does she pose any threat to society or herself. Her only ‘crime’ was to protect her confidential sources in keeping with the traditional constitutional notions of a free press,″ wrote Lee, a Democrat.

Greg Serres, interim U.S. attorney for South Texas, said he will continue to oppose the bail request until Leggett turns over the notes.

Doris Angleton’s husband, Robert Angleton, was acquitted in 1998 of state charges of hiring his brother to kill his wife. Angleton later killed himself.

Leggett’s lawyer is appealing the detention to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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