Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Times-Union Fights Reporter Subpoena; Woman Accused of Making Tape in Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's Office

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Times-Union Fights Reporter Subpoena; Woman Accused of Making Tape in Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's Office

Article excerpt

TALLAHASSEE | Florida prosecutors want to question a Florida Times-Union reporter about the tangled criminal case involving a former aide to Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.

But the newspaper is fighting the request and on Thursday asked a judge to block a subpoena of reporter Matt Dixon.

Ex-aide Carletha Cole is charged with breaking state law, accused of giving Dixon a copy of a secret audio recording of her talking to Carroll's chief of staff.

Circuit Judge Frank Sheffield of Leon County declined to rule on the newspaper's request, which comes at the same time prosecutors and attorneys for Cole are at odds over what evidence should be allowed.

Later Thursday, Sheffield rejected a request to shield Carroll in the case.

But Sheffield also sharply criticized attorneys for Cole and told them to give him reasons in writing why they need to question Carroll.

Gov. Rick Scott's administration sought to block questioning of Carroll after lawyers for Cole filed court documents in which Cole claimed to have found Carroll in a "compromising position" with her travel aide, Beatriz Ramos, inside Carroll's office.

Carroll called the allegations "false and absurd."

Attorneys for the newspaper told Sheffield that prosecutors can get what they need to convict Cole without questioning Dixon. Under Florida law, journalists have limited protection from testifying in cases they are involved with professionally.

Assistant State Attorney John Hutchins argued that the protection did not apply in cases involving those who witness crimes. …

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