During one of Michael Schmidt’s trials, a Toronto Sun journalist was called to the stand to give testimony about an interview he had done with Michael just the day before. In this case, the Sun clearly didn’t want to make an issue about it. A quick call to the office to clear it with superiors seemed to be all that was needed. The request was made in that morning, and the reporter was testifying the very same afternoon. Not that it’s a practice we’d want to encourage, for all the many reason David cites in his story.
“A lawyer for one of the journalists, working for a Wisconsin NBC television station, argued that the subpoena shouldn’t be issued since the reporter’s “testimony is not relevant, let alone ‘highly relevant,’ because he did not observe the purported crime.” The lawyer, Drew Shenkman, with a Washington, DC, firm, added, “Moreover, the State has failed to show that the information sought ‘is not obtainable from any alternative source,’…as the continued sale of raw milk products can be shown through countless other sources.”
Shenkman said there were “many untapped alternative sources…available to the state…” including members of Hershberger’s private food club and current and former employees.
One of the Wisconsin prosecutors, Eric Defort, rebutted that the reporter with the NBC affiliate could have important testimony about a key event in the Hershberger case–his breaking of the DATCP seals, placed on coolers June 2, 2010, and intended to prevent the farmer from distributing products to his club members. Since the reporter was at the farm on June 3, 2010, filming a report, his “observation that they were broken on June 3, 2010…is highly relevant as to when the seals were broken by Mr. Hershberger…”
The reality is that there is no disagreement about what happened with the seals. Hershberger has admitted any number of times that he broke the seals. Which begs the question: Why is DATCP making a major issue out of forcing journalists to testify for the prosecution, in defiance of all convention? …”
One wonders, why are the DATCP so much in the raw milk news these days? Is it because dairying is so big in Wisconsin? Is that why the “powers that be” seem to be going all out to establish landmark precedents there? Not long ago we heard about the demise of the Zinniker farm’s raw milk program, also at the hands of the DATCP.