PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A television reporter who became nationally known after refusing to reveal who gave him a secret FBI videotape that showed an official taking a bribe announced Friday that he is retiring.
Jim Taricani said his last day at WJAR-TV will be April 1. Taricani, who is 64, has covered Rhode Island for 40 years, 32 of them at WJAR.
Taricani was convicted in 2004 of criminal contempt for refusing to reveal the source of the video, which showed a mayoral aide taking a $1,000 cash bribe. The tape was part of a corruption investigation that ultimately sent former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci and others to prison.
He was sentenced to six months and allowed to serve it in home confinement because of his health. He had a heart transplant in 1996. The judge then released him after four months for good behavior and he went on to become a vocal advocate of a federal shield law that would protect journalists from having to reveal sources.
The lawyer who gave the video to Taricani admitted he was the source and was sent to prison for contempt and perjury.
On Friday, Taricani said he wouldn’t have done things differently.
‘‘I just believe that this is what a reporter does,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t think any reporter wants to be in that position. But it’s part of the job. It’s part of the territory that we travel in.’’
Taricani founded his station’s investigative unit and spent much of his career covering organized crime and public corruption. He won four Emmys, the Edward R. Murrow award and the Yankee Quill Award, the highest individual honor presented by the Academy of New England Journalists.
He said he plans to work part-time with a former colleague who owns a communications firm or else he would ‘‘bore myself to death.’’
While he said his health is great, he is well aware that his heart transplant was 17 ½ years ago, and said he’s well beyond the life expectancy of someone with a heart transplant.
‘‘I've been lucky,’’ he said. ‘‘Way lucky.’’