Trials & Litigation

Lawyer accused of revealing confidential informant's name to her client; info was then posted online

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A West Virginia lawyer has been ordered to show cause why she should not be held in contempt of court for allegedly giving a client a copy of a packet containing the identity of a confidential informant.

Kanawha Public Defender Sara Whitaker is accused of violating a judge’s order prohibiting the copying or dissemination of packets containing confidential informants’ names, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports.

Whitaker has allegedly admitted giving client Tracie Jones a copy of a packet containing the name of a confidential informant to whom Jones is accused of selling drugs. Jones’ former roommate, Andre Lee, later posted several photos of the packet on Facebook. The photos show the name and address of the informant, along with some of the rules for informants and potential cash rewards.

Whitaker has said she forgot to ask for the packet back after going over the evidence with her client. A judge has since assigned another lawyer to represent Jones.

Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Miller said Lee could potentially be facing witness intimidation or retaliation charges for posting the photos on Facebook.

“We’re still trying to gather the facts as to how [the packet] went from Sara Whitaker to her client to this fellow,” he said.

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