Newspaper: DOJ lawyer tried to stifle reporter

Jul 10, 2012

Two Louisiana congressmen are calling on the Justice Department to respond to a complaint that one of its attorneys tried to bar a newspaper reporter from quoting or recording her comments at a public hearing in New Iberia.

The Daily Iberian contends Justice Department attorney Rachel Hranitzky became "belligerent and threatening" after the reporter, Matthew Beaton, questioned why he couldn't quote her comments during a June 12 public hearing about the New Iberia Fire Department's hiring and promotion practices.

Sen. David Vitter and Rep. Jeff Landry, both Republicans, have asked the Justice Department to respond to a letter from Managing Editor Jeff Zeringue complaining about the reporter's treatment.

Zeringue is still waiting for a response, but a department spokeswoman says Hranitzky "never attempted to alter or stop a news story."