As proceedings began Monday morning in a high-stakes political battle over the GOP ballot in Dorchester County, Judge Howard King heard a motion by press attorney Jay Bender to quash a subpoena of Summerville Patch editor Lindsay Street.
At issue in the case is whether Dorchester GOP candidates correctly filed their campaign filing forms in March. In a year when hundreds of first-time candidates were thrown off the ballot across the state for missing a key filing requirement, Dorchester Republicans culled only one name among their candidates.
Street had been granted access to view the filing paperwork of S.C. House candidate Ed Carter. The editor had an email exchange with two of the defendants in the case, Dorchester GOP filing clerk Tony Piscatella and county party Chairwoman Carroll Duncan. One email has been included as evidence in the case, where Street verified that she had seen the documents.
Piscatella's attorney, Chris Murphy, told the court that Street was subpoenaed in the event that the "veracity or authenticity of the email" were challenged.
Bender noted that S.C. law protects reporters from being called to testify on an issue their reporting about, particularly when the information can be obtained by alternate means. "The reporter should be the witness of last resort, not the witness of first resort," Bender said.
After testimony from Duncan affirmed the email exchange, the judge ruled that the subpoena of Street was quashed.