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Uncovering the Charlie Shrem plea bargain in federal courts

On Saturday, Reuters reported exclusively that former Bitcoin promoter Charlie Shrem would plead guilty to U.S. charges of unlicensed money transmission. The story reported that Shrem reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of the digital currency to users of illicit online marketplace Silk Road.

Reuters journalist Nate Raymond
Reuters journalist Nate Raymond

In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, Nate Raymond offers an inside look at how he broke the story.

How did you score this plea bargain exclusive?

Nate Raymond: A calendar distributed by the New York federal court on Friday indicated there would be a plea hearing in the case of Shrem and his co-defendant. We did not know if one or both would plea, so I reached out to the lawyers and Shrem’s soon after emailed with the details. Basically, it came down to being quicker reading the calendar and following up than others.

What was the hardest part about reporting on the Charlie Shrem case?

Nate: Getting the lawyer quickly. We knew there was a plea hearing but had assessed that the calendar would not be enough to report a story.

What do you find most fulfilling about your beat?

Nate: I am one of two reporters covering the federal court in Manhattan. It is a great beat, filled with everything from insider trading to cybercrime to terrorism cases.

What is the process of covering the courts?

Nate: A lot of it is keeping up on court hearings and knowing where to be. We are one of the few organizations that devotes two full-time reporters to the Manhattan federal courthouse, arguably one of the busiest district courts in the country. We also spend much of our day watching the dockets for rulings and reading newly-filed complaints.

What makes you passionate about journalism?

Nate: I enjoy the speed of reporting breaking news and the diversity of stories I get to cover on a daily basis.

This post originally appeared on Reuters Best.

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