Feds suspend Cleverly subpoena | AspenTimes.com

Feds suspend Cleverly subpoena

Rick CarrollThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO, Colorado
Michael Cleverly

DENVER – The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver agreed Monday to temporarily withdraw its subpoena ordering Woody Creek writer Michael Cleverly to testify before a grand jury as part of a witness-tampering investigation, an attorney for The Aspen Times said.The delay will allow parties on both sides to “discuss the issue,” said Christopher Beall, a First Amendment attorney who is one of three Denver lawyers representing Cleverly. Cleverly was served with a subpoena July 13 at his home by members of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team. He declined to comment Tuesday. Beall and Steven Zansberg, of the Denver law firm Levine Sullivan Koch & Schultz LLP, last week began organizing efforts to aid Cleverly. Criminal defense attorney Dan Recht is also representing Cleverly.”Because it’s a criminal investigation by a grand jury,” Beall said, “it’s always appropriate to have a criminal defense specialist involved in handling the case.” Cleverly was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury in Denver on July 25. But for now, his appearance is on hold. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Korver, who originally requested the subpoena, could not be reached for immediate comment. Meanwhile, The Aspen Times agreed Monday to cooperate with the legal effort to fight the subpoena. In the past, Levine Sullivan Koch & Schultz LLP has provided counsel for the Times and its sister newspapers, which are part of Nevada-based Swift Communications, in media liability and free-speech issues.In the case of Cleverly, Beall, Recht and Zansberg are handling the case pro bono, or free of charge.The subpoena for Cleverly, who used to write a weekly column for the Times, comes after a June 27 article in the Times that reported on an email that had been circulating with the photo of an alleged confidential source who fed key information to the DEA in its probe into a drug ring believed to have spanned between Los Angeles and Aspen.Cleverly received the email, which has the subject line “contract is out … I’m offering $2 for the skin, dead or alive.” The email originally was sent to eight people; the Times only interviewed Cleverly for the June 27 article. The subpoena demands that Cleverly show authorities the email in question, the computer hard drive he used to receive the email, the Internet IP address Cleverly used to receive the email, and the IP and email address of the email sender.Cleverly, a published author, has previously said the DEA is retaliating against him because of a May 29 freelance opinion he wrote for the Aspen Times Weekly. The piece, published 11 days after the DEA arrested six Aspen-area residents on allegations that they were part of the cocaine ring, opined “the DEA types act like they’re on a mission from God, exactly the same as that preacher who thought the world was going to end on May 21.”The case against the six local suspects, as well as four from the Los Angeles area, is pending. A trial has been set for Feb. 14-20 in Denver. rcarroll@aspentimes.com