SHIELD LAW REPORTER RIP

Jim Taricani, an award-winning TV reporter who exposed corruption and served a federal sentence for refusing to disclose a source, has died. He was 69. 

Taricani died last Friday at his home in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, said his friend Dyana Koelsch. The cause was kidney failure.

Taricani covered Rhode Island for 40 years, 32 of them at WJAR-TV.

He focused much of his reporting on organized crime and chronicled the crimes of the New England Mafia and figures including Raymond L.S. Patriarca.

He also became a national advocate for a federal shield law that would protect journalists from having to reveal sources.

Taricani was convicted in 2004 of civil contempt for refusing to reveal the source of a secret FBI videotape that showed a Providence city official taking a $1,000 cash bribe. The video was part of a corruption investigation that ultimately sent former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci to prison.

He said at the time that it was important to air the video to show people what corruption looked like.

A federal judge sentenced him to six months and allowed him to serve it in home confinement because of his health; he had a heart transplant in 1996. He was released after four months for good behavior. When he retired in 2014, he told The Associated Press that he would not have done anything differently.

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