Update #2: The prosecution actually tried to amend the first eight counts of the indictment. Both sides rested. Jury excused until tomorrow morning. You can't make this up.
Update: The surprise rebuttal witness is......................one Mr. Kenneth Stokes. Defense rested this morning.
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith tried to subpoena Clarion-Ledger star reporter Jerry Mitchell as a witness in the prosecution of Ben Allen. However, Circuit Judge Winston Kidd quashed the subpoena and ruled he did not have to testify. The subpoena and motion to quash are posted below.
Mr. Mitchell questioned the spending of Downtown Jackson Partners funds by Mr. Allen in a 2014 Clarion-Ledger article. A former DJP secretary provided Mr. Mitchell with copies of DJP documents. Mr. Mitchell interviewed her and attorney John Reeves in the story. The subpoena was issued on January 25, 2017.
Mr. Mitchell filed a motion to quash the subpoena. His motion stated:
This subpoena should be quashed because it is repugnant to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution as it threatens the freedom of the press by forcing Mr. Mitchell to testify about matters he has reported on behalf of The Clarion Ledger and because the State cannot show that the information is not obtainable through any other source. This subpoena should be quashed because the information sought from Mr. Mitchell is not the Best Evidence...
Subpoenas threaten the freedom of the press when they require journalists to testify concerning matters they have written. Journalists should be free to write about controversial matters without the burden of subpoenas requiring them to give testimony not necessary to a case. Without constitutional protection, reporters would be subjected to burdensome and harassing subpoenas and would be harmed in their ability to collect material for controversial stories...
Mr. Mitchell also argued that the subpoena should be quashed since it was not issued by the circuit clerk nor was it filed in the docket. The subpoena does not appear in the court docket. The District Attorney also tried to subpoena Clarion-Ledger reporter Anna Wolfe in his trial in State v. Robert Shuler Smith.
Kingfish note: How come the D.A. subpoenaed Jerry Mitchell but not the focus of the story itself- the former DJP secretary? She is certainly a friendly witness to the prosecution. One also hopes that the attempts to subpoena reporters is not a new practice at the D.A.'s office.
Of course, Ms. Brune could appear as a surprise rebuttal witness. The same tactic was used by the AG last month when it called a former ADA to testify after the defense rested.