Prosecutors have ordered three Vermont journalists to hand over material they say is related to the sexual assault case against Franklin County Sen. Norm McAllister.
Journalists from Seven Days became part of the story they’d been reporting on when a Franklin County prosecutor issued subpoenas demanding their appearance at a court hearing later this month. The newspaper is challenging the order.
Audio from this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 18.
According to Seven Days, prosecutors ordered reporter Mark Davis, political editor Paul Heintz and news editor Matthew Roy to show up with notes and materials related to their reporting on the case.
Deputy Franklin County State’s Attorney Diane Wheeler told Seven Days that the reporters’ direct contact with McAllister, as well as one of his accusers, make them witnesses in the case.
Paula Routly, publisher of Seven Days, said in a written statement that prosecutors have no right to demand the reporters’ materials, or to force them to testify. Routly said freedom of the press “is threatened when lawyers demand to put reporters on the witness stand, peer into their notebooks and otherwise deputize them as agents of law enforcement.”
She said the newspapers will ask a judge to quash the subpoena.