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Government attorneys moved yesterday for a contempt hearing following the refusal of Samuel L. Popkin, assistant professor of Government, to answer questions before a grand jury investigating the Pentagon Papers case.
Popkin was called before the grand jury after Boston's Federal District Court refused to hear a motion for a protective order on his behalf.
Popkin, who has been subpoenaed several times by the Boston grand jury, attempted to seek exemption from questions relating to his academic work on grounds that information from his scholarly sources is privileged.
The government asked to begin contempt proceedings immediately, but the court refused until a transcript of the aborted grand jury hearing is available.
Popkin said the notes he had taken on the grand jury proceedings were confiscated by the government after yesterday's hearing.
The court also refused yesterday to grant a protective order barring the government from questioning grand jury witnesses on matters relating to the conspiracy indictments of Daniel Ellsberg '52 and Anthony J. Russo in the Pentagon Papers case.
Charles R. Nesson '60, professor of Law, sought the order Monday, and yesterday appealed the court's decision. A stay of one week on grand jury action in the case has been granted pending a hearing by the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Federal District Court also quashed yesterday subpoenas calling for grand jury testimony by Noam Chomsky, Ward Professor of Linguistics at MIT: Richard Falk, Milbank Professor of International Law at Princeton; and Ralph Stavins, a member of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington. The ruling was made on the grounds that a government affidavit denying wiretapping, filed last month, is insufficient.
The ruling was handed down "without prejudice," allowing the government to request new subpoenas from Federal Judge W. Arthur Garrity, subject to whatever terms and conditions Garrity may set.
In another action on the Pentagon Papers case, an attorney for Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) yesterday asked Chief Judge Bailey Aldrich of the Court of Appeals to extend restrictions on the grand jury to prevent it from questioning third parties about how Gravel received his copy of the Pentagon Papers.
Aldrich took the request under advisement, and said that if it was not granted he would order a new, indefinite stay of the grand jury inquiry to permit Gravel to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Gravel released portions of the Pentagon Papers last summer at a midnight meeting of a legislative subcommittee he chairs, and later provided a version of the report for publication by Beacon Press in Boston.
The Justice Department, meanwhile, asked Aldrich to waive the remainder of the waiting period issued with earlier restrictions. The court also took that request under advisement.
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