Iranian TV anchor detained in U.S. as material witness

/ CBS/AP

Marzieh Hashemi, a U.S. citizen who has lived and worked in Iran for much of her adult life, is being held as a material witness by the U.S. government. On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell unsealed information about her arrest, allowing it to be made public. The ruling says that she was arrested on a material witness warrant issued by a U.S. District Court judge, and she has not been accused of any crime.

FILE: YouTube screen grab showing Marzieh Hashemi on PressTV

Hashemi was detained in St. Louis, where she was shooting a Black Lives Matter documentary after visiting relatives in the New Orleans area. She was then taken to Washington, according to her elder son, Hossein Hashemi.

She has been appointed an attorney, according to the order, and she has appeared before a U.S. District Judge twice. On both occasions, she was represented by counsel.

Once she finishes testifying before a grand jury that's investigating violations of a U.S. criminal law, the government expects that she'll be released, the order said.

Hashemi, 58, was born Melanie Franklin in New Orleans but has worked for Iran's state TV network for 25 years.

Hossein Hashemi told The Associated Press that his mother lives in Tehran, the capital of Iran, and comes back to this country about once a year to see her family, and work on her documentaries somewhere in the U.S. while she's here.

Clare Hymes contributed to this report.

First published on January 18, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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