MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Three reporters have been subpoenaed to testify at a Dane County trial for two women accused of attacking a state senator last year.
Dane County Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds says the reporters must testify about what they saw when Sen. Tim Carpenter was beaten on June 24, 2020 while taking video of a protest in downtown Madison.
Kerida O’Reilly, 34, and Samantha Hamer, 27, are charged with felony battery and disorderly conduct. A jury trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 15.
Chali Pittman of WORT-FM, Lance Veeser of WKOW-TV and Dylan Brogan of Isthmus have been called to testify. Their attorney, James Friedman, argues that state law prohibits prosecutors from compelling reporters to testify about confidential sources or issuing subpoenas requiring reporters to testify, the State Journal reported.
In a brief filed with the court, Friedman said a subpoena may be issued only if specific conditions are met.
Reynolds ruled that those conditions were met; including that the information is highly relevant, the information is necessary to a legal proceeding, the information is not obtainable from another source, and there is an overriding public interest in the disclosure of the information.
Friedman argued prosecutors could instead present news articles to the jury as evidence without the reporters’ testimony. He also argued there were many other people who were there when Carpenter was beaten who could provide the same information and are not reporters.