Taricani, a television reporter in Providence, R.I., was sentenced to six months of home confinement for refusing to reveal who leaked him a Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance tape. A federal judge ordered Taricani, who has a heart condition, not to leave his home for any reason except medical treatment. The judge also barred him from using the Internet and from making any public statements.
Taricani was served with a federal subpoena in Providence after WJAR-TV, an NBC-owned affiliate, broadcast a portion of the surveillance tape in 2001 showing a municipal official, Frank E. Corrente, accepting a bribe from an FBI undercover agent. The tape was sealed under court order at the time. Corrente and Vincent “Buddy” Cianci Jr., the long-serving Providence mayor, were later convicted of corruption.
Ernest C. Torres, the chief U.S. District judge in Providence, held Taricani in criminal contempt of court on November 18. Soon after, a defense attorney in the probe, Joseph Bevilacqua, admitted in court that he was the source of the leaked tape. Bevilacqua represented another municipal official, Joseph Pannone, who was later convicted of corruption. Despite the disclosure, Torres sentenced Taricani to home confinement for having previously refused to name Bevilacqua as his source.