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RPGARY WEBB4NYTIMES.JPGModesto native Jeremy Renner is set to play late Capitol investigative reporter Gary Webb in the upcoming film, "Kill the Messenger," according to news reports.

Webb worked in the Capitol press corps for the San Jose Mercury News, which published the 1996 "Dark Alliance" series alleging CIA ties to the U.S. crack cocaine market. After several major publications disputed Webb's claims, the Mercury News reassigned him and he ultimately left the paper in 1997. He published a book in 1999, "Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras and the Crack Cocaine Explosion," that further detailed his story.

Webb later worked in the state Assembly as a committee consultant, investigating subjects such as a failed state Oracle Corp. contract, and at the Sacramento News and Review. He committed suicide in 2004 at his Carmichael home.

OC Weekly managing editor Nick Schou wrote the 2006 book "Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb" that serves as the basis for the new film.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gary Webb sits amid documents in his Carmichael home on June 2, 1997. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench


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