Glenn Beck must reveal Boston Marathon bombing sources

Judge Orders Beck To Identify Boston Marathon Sources

Aug 10 (Reuters) - The conservative commentator Glenn Beck must reveal the names of confidential sources he used in reports alleging that a Saudi Arabian student injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing was "the money man" who funded the attack, a federal judge ruled.

In her decision on Tuesday, Chief Judge Patti Saris of the U.S. District Court in Boston also rejected Beck's latest effort to dismiss Abdulrahman Alharbi's defamation case against him and TheBlaze network, which broadcasts his radio show.

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Michael Grygiel, a lawyer for Beck, did not immediately respond on Wednesday to requests for comment. Peter Haley, a lawyer for Alharbi, declined to comment.

Beck repeatedly linked Alharbi to the April 15, 2013 bombing on his radio show, including that he had been "tagged" as a "proven terrorist," and continued doing so after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano cleared the student in congressional testimony.

See Glenn Beck throughout his career:

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Glenn Beck
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PROVO, UT - MARCH 19: Conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck speaks at a rally for Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at Provo High School on March 19, 2016 in Provo, Utah. Utah voters go to the polls Tuesday, March 22 for the state's caucus. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Glenn Beck announces his endorsement of US Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz during a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, January 23, 2016, ahead of the Iowa Caucus. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - SEPTEMBER 9: TV and Right Wing personality Glenn Beck waits to go on stage to speak at a rally held by the Tea Party at the United States Capitol to speak out against President Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran in Washington, USA on September 9, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 19: Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck attends a Tea Party Patriots rally on the west front of the Capitol to protest the IRS's targeting of conservative political groups. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13: Glenn Beck speaks during the Dish Network War Of The Words at Hammerstein Ballroom on September 13, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images for Dish Network)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26: Glenn Beck attends Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards on April 26, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - AUGUST 24: (ISRAEL OUT) U.S. conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck hosts a rally near the Western Wall, on August 24, 2011 in Jerusalem's Old City, Israel. The event, under the slogan 'Restoring Courage', was attended by hundreds of his evangelical Christian supporters, whilst many who oppose his right-wing views protested outside. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
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Saris said Alharbi, 23, of Revere, Massachusetts, may learn the names of two Department of Homeland Security officials who allegedly provided information to officials at TheBlaze, to help refute Beck's claims and show his reporting was inadequate.

She said Alharbi may also be entitled to the name of a federal anti-terrorism agent who also spoke with TheBlaze, if that agent said Alharbi funded the bombing.

"The only way to verify or confirm what the confidential sources told the defendants would be to speak with the sources themselves," Saris wrote in a 61-page decision. Beck never spoke with the sources, she added.

Most U.S. states have shield laws protecting journalists from revealing confidential sources, but Massachusetts does not.

In letting the defamation case continue, Saris said Alharbi can try to show that the defendants were negligent, and may seek damages for emotional distress and harm to his reputation.

She said Alharbi cannot seek punitive damages because Massachusetts law does not permit them in defamation cases.

Alharbi had been a spectator near the marathon's finish line when two homemade pressure-cooker bombs ripped through the crowd, killing three people and injuring more than 260.

The ethnic Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were implicated in the bombing. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death in June 2015. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot and killed by police a few days after the bombing.

The case is Alharbi v. TheBlaze Inc et al, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, No. 14-11550.

Look back at the scene of the Boston Marathon bombing:

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Boston Marathon bombings -- impact, aftermath, suspects and victims
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Boston Marathon bombings -- impact, aftermath, suspects and victims
BOSTON - APRIL 15: Police officers with their guns drawn hear the second explosion down the street. The first explosion knocked down 78-year-old US marathon runner Bill Iffrig at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Suspects wanted for questioning in relation to the Boston Marathon bombing April 15, later identified as Dzhokhar (L) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are seen in handout photo released through the FBI website, April 18, 2013. REUTERS/FBI/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
BOSTON - APRIL 15: Two explosions went off near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WATERTOWN, MA - JUNE 27: A formal appreciation for the first responders who took part in the capture of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was held tonight at the Perkins School for the Blind. Watertown resident David Henneberry, the man who found the suspect hiding in his boat in his backyard, waves and acknowledges the applause after he was introduced in the audience from the podium. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 15: (EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS IMAGE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT) Destruction and injured people at the site of the one of the explosions that went off near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. Barricades hindered the EMS from getting to the injured. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, suspect #2 in the Boston Marathon explosion is pictured in this undated FBI handout photo. Police on April 19, 2013 killed one suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing during a shootout and mounted a house-to-house search for a second man in the suburb of Watertown, Massachusetts. REUTERS/FBI/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
ALLSTON, MA - APRIL 14: Tamerlan Tsarnaev during his practice at the Wai Kru Mixed Martial Arts on April 14, 2009 near Boston, Massachusetts. Three spectators were killed and more than two hundred sixty injured when two bombs exploded on Marathon Monday, which prompted a massive manhunt for suspects later identified as Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, two brothers from Chechnya, living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during the shootout, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found later the same day hiding in a boat nearby. (Photo by Thomas Brown/Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 15: A second explosion goes off near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 15: A man is loaded into an ambulance after he was injured by one of two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon near Copley Square on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 23 injured after two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
A man identified by authorities as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, is seen in this undated still image taken from surveillance video made available by the Boston Regional Intelligence Center. REUTERS/BRIC/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
Runner John Ounao crying when he finds friends after several explosions rocked the finish of the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, on April 15, 2013. At least two people were killed and 22 wounded when two explosions struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, sparking scenes of panic, police said. The streets were littered with debris and blood and paramedics raced off with stretchers as police locked down the area, witness said. TV footage showed an explosion sending up a white plume of smoke along the sidelines of the race. AFP PHOTO/John MOTTERN (Photo credit should read JOHN MOTTERN/AFP/Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 15: Two officials run away from the first explosion, right, on Boylston Street at the 177th Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
First responders load injured people into an ambulance where two explosions occurred along the final stretch of the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., on Monday, April 15, 2013. Two powerful explosions rocked the finish line area of the Boston Marathon near Copley Square and police said many people were injured. Photographer: Kelvin Ma/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Runners and spectators flee from the scene where two explosions occurred along the final stretch of the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., on Monday, April 15, 2013. Two powerful explosions rocked the finish line area of the Boston Marathon near Copley Square and police said many people were injured. Photographer: Kelvin Ma/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 15: A runner reacts near Kenmore Square after two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 23 injured after two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 15: Boston Police struggle to remove barricades to reach victims of the first explosion that went off near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon,. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 15: A person who was injured in the first explosion is wheeled across the finish line of the Boston Marathon. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
A man looks out of his window in Cambridge, Massachusetts April 19, 2013. Police killed one suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, Tamerlan Tsarneav, in a shootout and mounted house-to-house searches for the second man, his brother Dzhokar Tsarnaev, on Friday, with much of the city under virtual lockdown after a bloody night of shooting and explosions in the streets. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST)
BOSTON - APRIL 15: (EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS IMAGE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT) A person who was injured in an explosion near the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon is taken away from the scene on a stretcher. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 15: A runner sits near Kenmore Square after two bombs exploded during the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 23 injured after two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Trash is strewn on the street near the finish line of the Boston Marathon where several explosions rocked the event April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. At least two people were killed and 22 wounded when two explosions struck near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, sparking scenes of panic, police said. The streets were littered with debris and blood and paramedics raced off with stretchers as police locked down the area, witness said. TV footage showed an explosion sending up a white plume of smoke along the sidelines of the race. AFP PHOTO/John MOTTERN (Photo credit should read JOHN MOTTERN/AFP/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 15: A swat team arrives at the corner of Stuart Street and Dartmouth Street after two explosive devices detonated at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 23 injured after two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
BOSTON - APRIL 16: Newspapers are on sale at a stand on Newbury Street on April 16, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Security is especially tight in the city of Boston after two explosions went off near the finish of the Marathon, killing three people and injuring at least 141 others. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 02: Jonny Gomes #5 of the Boston Red Sox lays the World Series trophy and the 'Boston Strong 617' jersey onto the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street during the World Series victory parade on November 2, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
BOSTON - MARCH 15: A bagpiper wears a Boston Strong jersey during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in the South Boston neighborhood on March 15, 2015. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
SWAT teams enter a suburban neighborhood to search an apartment for the remaining suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in Watertown, Massachusetts April 19, 2013. Two Boston bomb suspects were named as brothers, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, a U.S. national security official said on Friday. The official said the older brother died in a shootout with police and the younger one was being sought in a house-to-house search for in the Boston suburb of Watertown. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)
A member of the SWAT team trains a gun on an apartment building during a search for the remaining suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in Watertown, Massachusetts April 19, 2013. Two Boston bomb suspects were named as brothers, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, a U.S. national security official said on Friday. The official said the older brother died in a shootout with police and the younger one was being sought in a house-to-house search for in the Boston suburb of Watertown. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)
WATERTOWN, MA - OCTOBER 10: David and Beth Henneberry were photographed at their home in Watertown, Mass. on Thursday, October 10, 2013. Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured hiding inside Henneberry's boat. The boat trailer behind them is a new trailer for the new boat Henneberry uses. (Photo by Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WATERTOWN, MA - APRIL 17: A new boat is sits in David Henneberry's driveway in Watertown, Mass. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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