Independent counsel James McKay said Friday the court order prohibiting any leak of his report on Attorney General Edwin Meese III has been violated and that he would investigate and seek sanctions against those responsible.
Sources who declined to be identified by name said a portion of the 830-page report had been leaked to The New York Times.Executives of the Times in New York and Washington declined immediate comment.
One source said the Times had acquired those portions of the report which were made available to Meese's former lawyer and confidant, E. Robert Wallach.
Both Wallach and his attorney did not immediately return telephone calls.
McKay, who did not identify the source of the leak, said he "regards this as an extremely serious development and intends to investigate this matter and seek sanctions against the person or persons responsible for this violation."
Sources said McKay decided against seeking any criminal indictment of Meese although matters discussed in the report might be reviewed by Justice Department ethics officers to see if administrative discipline is warranted.
The special three-judge court which appointed McKay authorized him to give out portions of his report to individuals who were mentioned in it, so they could have an opportunity to submit rebuttal comments before the report is released publicly by the court. They were given until July 14 to submit such comments.