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Lawyers in Island Lake trial subpoena newspaper to learn comment poster IDs

A suburban newspaper has been hit with an unusual subpoena seeking the identities of readers who have offered on-line comments about the pending trial of former Island Lake official Sharon Hyde.

Her attorneys filed the subpoena Monday asking for information from the Daily Herald, saying they believe some critical comments made on the paper’s website about Hyde come from a former village trustee expected to testify against her.

Hyde, 60, faces trial later this year in Lake County on felony theft and official misconduct charges for allegedly collecting more than $110,000 for hours she never worked while running the village’s Creative Playtime pre-school.

Her defense team wants to learn if former trustee Thomas Martin used a pseudonym to make pejorative comments about Hyde on the Herald’s website when stories were written about her criminal case, contending those remarks would show he is biased against Hyde.

“We’re just looking for areas disclosing interest, bias or prejudice on the part of the witness,” defense attorney Charles Smith said during the hearing.

Smith is asking the paper turn over to Judge Fred Foreman “the identity of all individuals who comment upon stories involving the Village of Island Lake in the last two years” so he can determine if Martin wrote some of those comments.

Foreman set a May 9 hearing on the issue.

Lake County prosecutors didn’t comment on the subpoena, while an attorney for the Herald said the subpoena was being reviewed.

Martin couldn’t be reached for comment.

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