1:29 PM PDT, June 1, 2021
John Prior, the lawyer who subpoenaed East Idaho News reporter Nate Eatonfor in early May for the Daybell trial, has withdrawn his request, East Idaho News reported.
Eaton would have been asked to testify in a Fremont County courtroom about the number of page views, audience size, and online reach his employer, EastIdahoNews.com, which has been covering the Daybell case extensively.
At the time the subpoenaed was issued, Lori and Chad Daybell were both charged with conspiracy to conceal or destroy evidence in the aftermath of the discovery of Lori’s children, Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan, who were found dead in Chad’s backyard. They pleaded not guilty to all crimes.
But the couple has since been charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, and a number of financial crimes relating to the deaths of the children and Chad’s former wife.
Chad Daybell is scheduled to appear in court on June 9 to enter his plea. A date for Lori is still pending.
Jeffrey Hunt, a Utah-based attorney, negotiated with Prior on behalf of the news outlet.
“We are pleased that the subpoena has been withdrawn,” Hunt said, according to the outlet. “The First Amendment protects the independence of news reporters so they are free to report on judicial proceedings without becoming witnesses in them. The withdrawal of the subpoena is a welcome recognition of that independence and the vital role of the news media in providing information to the public about this case.”