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Justices Turn Down Congressman’s Appeal

WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a D.C. Circuit ruling that Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., should not have leaked an illegally taped phone call between GOP leaders and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

McDermott asked the justices to hear his appeal of the May ruling, saying it violated his First Amendment rights.

House Minority Leader John Boehner claimed McDermott, a former senior member of the House ethics committee, released a tape of a December 2006 call in which Gingrich told Boehner and other Republican leaders how to react to ethical allegations against him.

A Florida couple had illegally recorded the call with a police scanner and submitted it to the House Ethics Committee. McDermott later leaked it to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The New York Times.

McDermott was ordered to pay Boehner $60,000 in damages and more than $600,000 in court costs, while Gingrich was fined $300,000 and was reprimanded by the House. See order list.

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