BEIRUT, The Associated Press Lebanon: Too much zeal for reporting may have led three Lebanese journalists to break into the apartment of a key witness in the slaying of former Prime Minster Rafik Hariri

The trio later acknowledged taking documents from the apartment, which they subsequently handed to the judiciary, court officials have said. The men were held on charges of breaking into the apartment and "tampering with criminal evidence."

Investigating Judge Elias Eid on Wednesday ordered the men released on bail pending trial, a court official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make statements to the media. A trial date is expected to be set later, the official said.

Al-Bassam, the news editor, has acknowledged that Hatoum and the crew illegally entered Siddiq’s apartment, although their initial task was to "take pictures of the building from the outside."

But the owner of the building and others at the premises at the time encouraged the crew that "they could enter the apartment," al-Bassam told The Associated Press last month.

She described the break-in in as a "rash decision" by Hatoum which resulted from his "journalistic enthusiasm." The TV crew had not taken any documents relevant to the Hariri investigation while at the apartment, she also said.

It was not immediately clear what sentence the journalists face if convicted.

Siddiq was detained in France, where he lives, in October 2005, after a U.N. commission investigating Hariri’s assassination recommended his arrest on grounds he had given false evidence to investigators.

But French authorities released him last February and refused to extradite him to Lebanon because of lack of guarantees that he would not face the death sentence here.

Hatoum had earlier interviewed Siddiq during a trip to France.New-TV broadcast the first part of that interview last year. Hatoum promised Wednesday it will air another part soon.

Lebanese prosecutors have since charged Siddiq in absentia for giving false testimony to mislead the U.N. investigation and playing an indirect role in Hariri’s killing.