Wall Street Journal reporter Douglas Belkin was arrested yesterday at a Chicago federal building while covering the trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.
The New York Observer contacted a Journal spokesperson about the matter:
“Doug Belkin was wrongfully arrested and charged with petty offenses for nothing more than routine newsgathering,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “We stand behind our reporter, and will aggressively fight these unfounded charges.”
Belkin was trying to interview an attorney. A security guard told the Chicago Sun-Times Media Wire, “I told him three times to back up and he didn’t.” And, “He put his hands on me.”
Belkin’s enthusiasm is understandable; Blagojevich’s attorneys unexpectedly announced they were resting their case in the federal corruption trial, putting the kibosh on the possibility of Blagojevich taking the stand to defend himself as he had previously promised. Here’s a tidbit from today’s Journal story on the Blagojevich proceedings by Belkin and fellow Journal reporter Danny Yadron:
After Mr. Blagojevich told U.S. District Judge James Zagel that he wouldn’t testify on his own behalf, the defendant signed autographs with a blue ball-point pen on the tan tickets issued to spectators at the trial until a marshal ordered him to stop.