NU won't fight order to turn over emails

September 24, 2011 6:27:31 PM PDT
Northwestern University says it will turn over more than 500 emails detailing students' efforts to free a man serving a life sentence.

A statement released by university Vice President Alan Cubbage says the school won't fight a judge's ruling. But the school says that it disagrees with the court order.

"We respectfully disagree with Judge Cannon's application of the law to the facts in this case, but we have decided not to appeal the court's decision of September 7, 2011," Cubbage said in the statement. "The University will provide the remaining materials that were subpoenaed to the Cook County State's Attorney's office."

A judge earlier ruled that Northwestern journalism students acted as investigators in a criminal proceeding. It's because of that the judge says the information has to be turned over and not protected by Illinois' reporter's privilege act.

The emails between former Northwestern professor David Protess and Medill School of Journalism students are related to their work to try to free Anthony McKinney. He's serving a life sentence for the 1978 murder of a security guard.

In response to Northwestern's decision, the Cook County State's Attorney's office released this statement: "We are pleased with Northwestern's decision to avoid a lengthy appeal process and look forward to proceeding with the case as quickly as possible in order to determine the actual guilt or innocence of Anthony McKinney."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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