Felony Charge Against Reporter Dropped

BOYNE CITY, Mich. (AP) -- A felony charge has been dropped against a reporter who gathered footage of a small airplane crash that killed two people in northern lower Michigan.

Damien Leist, who was working for the Charlevoix County News, said no one told him that he and a colleague couldn't approach the site of the Jan. 6 crash in Boyne City.

Leist was charged under a state law that prohibits taking pictures of human remains in a grave. The Petoskey News-Review and WPBN-WTOM report the charge was dismissed Tuesday under agreement between Charlevoix County Prosecutor Allen Telgenhof and Leist's lawyer.

Telgenhof says in a joint release that officials "respect the First Amendment rights of the news media to cover newsworthy events."

Leist says his "only objective was to report on this tragic accident."


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