Johnson & Johnson Calls For Unavailable Witness In Oklahoma Opioid Trial

Friday, June 21st 2019, 9:36 pm
By: News On 6

On day 19 of Oklahoma's opioid trial, there were heated moments inside the courtroom.

Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson criticized the state of Oklahoma for trying to call a witness they say is unavailable, which happened at the end of the state's case.

The state will finish its case next week, but before they do, they want to call a pharmaceutical sales rep for Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson attorney Larry Ottaway pushed back, saying this particular witness made herself available for two full weeks, and let the judge know a month ago she would be out of state for the entire next week.

Ottaway said the state knew this, but served the woman with a second subpoena as she was preparing for her trip.

"I have other places I'd rather be Monday with my wife, but I'm gonna be here," State Attorney Brad Beckworth said. "A subpoena has to be enforced. They exist. It's not fair to the janitor, the teacher, lawyer or the doctor who has to come do jury duty or anything else to say, 'Well, I've got other obligations.'"

"As usual, lengthy, eloquent, and completely off the point," Ottaway said. "They knew this witness's schedule. Any inference that somehow on June 20th we concocted a scheme to get her out of town on Monday is ridiculous."

The state told the judge they didn't know they'd need to call the sales rep until yesterday.      

The judge ultimately ruled that because she is a critical witness, the sales rep could testify after her vacation. He said because the State had notice she'd be gone, he would not enforce a subpoena that would make her report to court during the time she had scheduled her trip.