Mike Lawrence
Mike Lawrence

Boston-based Cone Communications has been hit with a subpoena from lawyers for CBS, demanding communications between Cone and journalists that pertain to the legal battle between CBS and its largest shareholder, National Amusements Inc. (a Cone client), according to a story published on CBSNews.com.

The subpoena is part of an overall attempt by NAI to compel CBS to release more documents connected to the merger suit’s discovery phase. NAI claims that many of the documents it is asking for discuss CBS’s attempt to strip NAI of its ability to control a majority of voting stock in CBS. The trial over CBS’s plan is set to begin on Oct. 3.

In addition to requesting “all documents concerning communications between (Cone) and any reporter, journalist or other member of the media concerning: (a) CBS; (b) Viacom; or (c) any of the NAI Parties,” the subpoena asks for messages sent between Cone and employees of National Amusements.

It also names Cone executive vp and chief reputation officer Mike Lawrence, who has served as a spokesman for NAI majority owner Sumner Redstone, telling the company to consider the request a “personal subpoena” to Lawrence.

Clay Calvert, a law professor and director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida, told CBSNews.com that he considered the subpoena to be “dangerous.” He said it has the potential to involve journalists in a legal situation that they're covering.

Accusations have been plentiful in the case. CBS’s subpoena follows charges from National Amusements that CBS executives used “disappearing” messaging app TigerText to effectively delete messages sent between executives. NAI also said a CBS board member secretly recorded video of Sumner Redstone in his home.

Cone is part of Omnicom.