James Higdon has been following the story of Johnny Boone since his adolescence growing up in Lebanon, Kentucky, during the height of the war between the Marion County marijuana growers and the federal government. From there, he went on to study writing at Brown and journalism at Columbia, where he graduated with honors in 2005. He has met with and personally interviewed Johnny Boone, Jimmy Bickett, and several other major players who have never spoken publicly until now.
He has worked for the Courier-Journal in Louisville, the New York Times, PBS Frontline's Tehran Bureau; contributed material to The Prairie Home Companion; and researched the NYPD for the police drama series NYC-22. His reporting relationship with Johnny Boone landed him in the crosshairs of a federal manhunt, making him the first journalist subpoenaed by the Obama administration. Due to the confidentiality rules of the federal grand jury, he had to tamp down newsgathering from NPR, Fox News, the Courier-Journal and The Hill. Now that the subpoena is settled with the US Attorney’s office in Louisville, he is free to talk about his experiences with a national press corps eager to publicize the case of a journalist standing up for his First Amendment rights.