Kristin Smart Podcaster again fights subpoena for records

July 14, 2022

Chris Lambert


Paul Flores’ defense attorney has again subpoenaed a freelance journalist whose podcasts helped shine a light on the alleged 1996 murder of Kristin Smart.

Chris Lambert was served a subpoena on July 10. Paul Flores’ attorney Robert Sanger is seeking records of Lambert’s investigation.

Lambert has devoted 10 podcast episodes to the Kristin Smart murder. He is fighting the subpoena.

California has a shield law to protect journalists from providing unpublished notes and materials from their reporting.

Under the shield law, Article I, section 2(b) of the California Constitution and Evidence Code section 1070, California courts are required to conduct a balancing test, weighing the needs of a criminal defendant for the journalists notes and material and then determining if the information can be obtained from sources other than the journalist.

Following a similar subpoena in Aug. 2021,  San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen ruled Lambert did not have to provide records or testify, because it would have a “chilling effect” on the media.

Juror selection finished on Tuesday. Court is set to resume Thursday, when the judge will listen to several motions. It is unclear when the judge will rule on Lambert’s objection.

Opening statements are expected to begin on July 18.

Flores is accused of murdering Smart, a student at Cal Poly, in 1996 following a party they both attended in San Luis Obispo. Flores’ father Ruben Flores is charged as an accessory after the fact. He is suspected of helping his son dispose of Smart’s body.

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The judge in Monterey County seems fair and is allowing Lambert to sit in the courtroom.

Today’s developments:

Pretrial Motion Hearing Thread – July 14, 2022


Department 4 – Monterey County Superior Court

Podcaster Chris Lambert, who is credited with reviving interest in the Smart case after releasing a 10-part series on his “Your Own Backyard” podcast, was served a subpoena as a witness. (KEYT)

On Thursday, an agreement was made to allow Lambert to remain in the courtroom even though potential witnesses or witnesses are typically not allowed to do so. (KEYT)

A hearing for Lambert’s subpoena involving his lawyers, who will appear via Zoom, will take place on Friday at 10 a.m. (KSBY)

Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe, who is presiding over the case, ruled that evidence of blood collected at Ruben Flores’ home can be used in court. (KEYT)

There was also discussion on which expert witnesses will be eligible to testify along with a motion to quash a subpoena to have Paul’s mother, Susan Flores, testify during the trial over the fear of self-incrimination. Susan appeared in court Thursday via Zoom. The judge ruled she will not be excluded as a witness. (KSBY)

Next on the list was forensic scientist Angela Butler. Also appearing via Zoom, Butler was subject to cross-examination led by the defense where she answered questions about her report on soil samples taken from Ruben Flores’ home. The court determined Butler to be a qualified expert and could testify at trial. (KSBY)

Moving forward with other motions, Judge O’Keefe also found archaeologist Philip Hanes’ testimony admissible, calling him as a qualified expert on the ground-penetrating radar. (KSBY)

Archaeologist Cindy Arrington, who is regarded as a professional when it comes to the decomposition of human remains, will also be allowed to testify. (KSBY)

Regarding DNA and HMEC testing on both soil and mattress samples, the judge ruled it will not be excluded as this technique is generally accepted. (KSBY)

Another big motion in question was the testimony of a key witness, who testified during the preliminary hearing that she may have heard Paul admit to burying Kristin. Judge O’Keefe said questioning is appropriate but with limitations. (KSBY)

Regarding the then-boyfriend of the witness, the judge decided his testimony is not relevant and, at least for now, questioning of the manager of the Kristin Smart Facebook page will also not be allowed, although that’s subject to change. (KSBY)

As hearings throughout the day continued, a motion by the prosecution was heard to admit evidence alleging sexual aggressions by Paul. That motion hearing was previously postponed because the court wanted to finalize jury selection first to avoid any media exposure that could influence jurors. (KSBY)

Judge O’Keefe said witness testimony from three women alleging aggressive sexual behavior is inadmissible during the trial. (KSBY)

Three other women who reportedly said Paul sought them for sex when they were intoxicated and unable to consent will be allowed to testify, but will also be subject to rigorous cross examination. (KSBY)

The judge then ruled to exclude sexual videos, a commercially-produced porn video and Google searches authorities say were found on Paul’s phone. (KSBY)

Friday, along with the subpoena involving Chris Lambert being heard, the prosecution will share three reports that have not previously been disclosed regarding statements allegedly made by Paul in his dorm room and inside a detective’s vehicle. (KSBY)

Chris Lambert just might find himself in court in defense of a law suit….. when this is all over….

He is the only reason that Flores was arrested and is now on trial. This one man did what local and federal law enforcement could or did not do. It’s been 26 years. I’m very relieved for the Smart family that Lambert took on Kristen’s unsolved case. Hopefully through this they will get some answers.