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Archive for Saturday, April 12, 2008

Reporters subpoenaed by attorneys for governor

April 12, 2008

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— An Associated Press reporter and a former reporter for the Kansas City Star were subpoenaed Friday by attorneys defending Gov. Matt Blunt against a lawsuit filed by a former staff lawyer.

Scott Eckersley sued Blunt and four past or current staff members in January, claiming he was fired and defamed in the fall in retaliation for suggesting Blunt's administration was destroying e-mails in violation of Missouri's open-records law.

A state judge is considering whether the defamation part of the suit should be moved from Jackson County where it was filed to the Capitol's home in Cole County.

AP state Capitol correspondent David A. Lieb on Friday was ordered to appear Tuesday morning at a Jefferson City law firm to be deposed about a media packet sent in October by Blunt's administration.

The AP plans to contest the subpoena.

The media packets, which defended the Eckersley firing, were also sent to The Kansas City Star, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Springfield News-Leader. Eckersley filed his lawsuit in Jackson County because The Star is published there.

Randy Smith, The Star's deputy managing editor, said the newspaper was working with its attorneys Friday night on a response to the subpoena.

The Post-Dispatch and the News-Leader said none of their reporters had been issued a subpoena.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Michael Manners said last week that deciding where the defamation claims should be tried depends on where the documents were read by media members.

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