Reporter Who Got Close to McAfee Foils Subpoena

     MANHATTAN (CN) – A widow going after elusive software billionaire John McAfee for his dangerous new aerotrekking sport cannot subpoena a reporter, an appeals court ruled.
     Freelance journalist Davin Coburn wrote a September 2006 feature in Popular Mechanics about aerotrekking, a sport invented by anti-virus software founder John McAfee.
     Titled “Canyon Riders,” the September 2006 article gave a first-person account of Coburn’s journey on McAfee’s ultralight aircraft.
     “There are no canopies on our aircraft, which are basically just go-karts bolted to hang gliders – with engines in the back,” Coburn wrote.
     On Nov. 1 of that year, McAfee’s nephew Joel Gordin Bitow took Robert Gilson, 61, aerotrekking but their ultralight crashed and killed both of them.
     Pauline Gilson, the late 61-year-old’s widow, later filed a wrongful death suit that faulted McAfee for hiring Bitow, who allegedly lacked the proper qualifications.
     McAfee reportedly dodged the suit by waltzing off to Belize, but fled from there as well after a neighbor’s murder in 2012. Wanted for questioning as a “person of interest” in Belize, the software billionaire made an unsuccessful bid for asylum in Guatemala and then found refuge in the United States.
     Meanwhile, Gilson’s widow sought to advance in the wrongful-death claims in her Arizona suit by hitting Coburn, a New York-based reporter, with a subpoena asking him to appear for a deposition or produce documents relevant to her suit.
     New York County Supreme Court Judge Shlomo Hagler quashed that subpoena last year, finding that the information she wanted was protected by New York Shield Law.
     A four-judge panel of the Appellate Division’s First Department affirmed Thursday.
     Neither of the attorneys immediately responded to a telephone request for comment.

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