A journalist who pleaded guilty to illegally intercepting voice mail from the Chiquita banana company won't face more charges if he continues to cooperate, prosecutors said.
Michael Gallagher was the lead reporter of series of stories published by The Cincinnati Enquirer in May that questioned the business practices of Chiquita Brands International Inc.Gallagher, 40, pleaded guilty Thursday to unlawful interception of communications and unauthorized access to computer systems. He faces up to 21/2 years in prison and a $7,500 fine at sentencing March 19.
"Mr. Gallagher has been cooperative and continues to cooperate with the special prosecutor's office," said prosecutor Perry Ancona.
Gallagher had no comment in court or as he left. His stories portrayed Chiquita as a company that used force, deception and bribery in Latin America.
The Enquirer later renounced the series, apologized to Chi-qui-ta on its front page and paid the Cincinnati-based company more than $10 million. The newspaper, which is owned by the Gannett Co., fired Gallagher on June 26.