Podcaster Chris Lambert’s subpoena still up for debate
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Jury selection for both Paul and Ruben Flores officially wrapped up on July 12 — just in time for opening statements on Monday.
Paul is accused of the 1996 murder and disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart. His father, Ruben, is accused of helping his son after the fact. The two were arrested in April 2021 — Ruben was released on bail, and Paul remains in custody.
Jury selection for Ruben started July 11, after days of wrapping up more pretrial motions and Paul’s jury selection before that. Even though the father and son are being tried together, they will have separate juries.
While opening statements are scheduled to begin on July 18, there appears to still be some unfinished pretrial business.
On July 10, Chris Lambert of the “Your Own Backyard” podcast covering Smart’s disappearance received an order to attend court. Lambert and his podcast are credited with bringing new life to the case.
Lambert took to social media on Thursday, July 14, saying that although he was granted permission to sit in during the motion hearings that day, he is discontinuing his public coverage of the trial until further notice.
“Since I am currently subject to the gag order, I am waiting for confirmation before I report any further on the case. Thanks for your patience and support,” said Lambert.
According to the photo of Lambert’s subpeona he shared on social media, he is asked to bring specific “items” attached to the summoning document.
Throughout Lambert’s work with the podcast, he spoke to several new witnesses, including other alleged victims of Paul’s who wished to remain nameless.
But the Flores defense lawyers have several times alluded to the podcast, calling it inaccurate.
And this is not the first time the podcaster has been subpoenaed by the defense lawyers of Paul and Ruben. Lambert was asked to bring specific documents with him during preliminary hearings in San Luis Obispo — prior to the trial’s move to Monterey County.
At the time, presiding Judge Craig van Rooyen ruled that the subpoena of Lambert’s documents would have a “chilling effect” on reporters and their ability to communicate with sources.
Now that Judge Jennifer O’Keefe is presiding over the case in Salinas, Lambert’s subpoena is again up for debate.
There is no confirmation yet as to when Lambert is expected to appear in court and if his subpoena will set back the trial date, which is expected to last into October.