Jurists Uphold Conviction of L.A. Newsman

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 18 — A three-justice panel of the state Court of Appeal Friday upheld a contempt of court conviction of newspaper reporter William Farr for refusing to tell a judge the source of a story he wrote about the Charles Manson case.

Farr, who wrote the story while employed by the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner but who is now on the staff of The Times, said he will appeal immediately to the state Supreme Court and, if necessary, to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Superior Judge Charles H. Older had cited Farr for contempt, and then convicted him of it, for refusing to reveal who told him outside of court that the Manson “family” planned to kill several celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

Older said the story violated his order limiting out-of-court statements by principals involved in the case.

“The trial court,” the appeal court panel said in a 20-page opinion, “was faced with information that two of the six trial counsel who had conducted the case before it were guilty of serious misconduct.

“It was both empowered and duty-bound to inquire into the validity of this information.”

On Dec. 6, Superior Judge Bernard S. Jefferson acquitted Farr of another contempt citation administered by Older for allegedly inducing two lawyers to violate Older’s order of silence in the Manson case.

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