63-year-old Harvey Updyke's attorney Everett Wess told the media Wednesday morning that his client did not confess to poisoning the historic oaks at Toomer's Corner to a reporter from The Auburn Plainsman.
"There were other reporters around from ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, al.com, AP, major, major media outlets, and all of you were swarming in the courtroom, the lawyers were around the courtroom, and we think it's kind of odd that a student reporter from Auburn University was able to get this story when all these major media outlets have been here the entire time," Wess said."No one saw this reporter getting this information from Updyke."
Wess says since the article was published, he has spoken to Updyke and his wife and they deny making the alleged confession. "This morning, we will file a motion to change the venue. We think this is an example of how the publicity of the trial in this area may impact Harvey from having a fair trial," Wess said.
In the wake of the article, a gag order has been issued barring everybody involved with the case from speaking to the media with the exception of attorneys for both sides.
Updyke is on trial for allegedly poisoning the Toomer's Corner oaks with spike 80DF after the 2010 Iron Bowl. Updyke is charged two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, two counts of desecration of a venerated object, and two counts of damage to a crop facility.
Jury selection is currently underway at the Lee County Justice Center.
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