Subpoena to be signed Monday to order Schilling to testify

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island House Speaker Nick Mattiello will sign a subpoena Monday compelling Curt Schilling, founder of the failed video game company 38 Studios, to testify before the House Oversight Committee, which is examining the state’s $75 million deal with the company.

The committee voted unanimously Thursday to issue the subpoena, and Mattiello’s office confirmed Friday he will sign it next week.

But is it legislative grandstanding? Will the Rhode Island subpoena carry any force in Massachusetts, where Schilling lives? And would there be difficulties in actually serving the former Red Sox pitcher in the process?

Eyewitness News legal analyst Lou Pulner said the subpoena will likely not mean much.

“He could probably just throw that out with the Wednesday trash,” Pulner said.

Speaker Mattiello had previously opposed issuing 38 Studios subpoenas, arguing the General Assembly is not an investigative body. The General Assembly has the power to subpoena in a civil context, though Eyewitness News has learned the power has not been exercised in over 30 years.

Schilling was never deposed in the civil lawsuit. And he has not publicly answered questions about how the deal went wrong.

“To think that he’s going to talk about this case to the House committee while he’s still a defendant in the lawsuit – that’s just not going to happen. It’s pure folly,” Pulner said, referring to the state’s ongoing civil suit against Schilling and other architects of the 38 Studios deal.

“I think Curt Schilling has a lot to say. And I think he’s going to have a real fun time discussing it all,” Pulner said. “But we’re going to have to wait until he’s no longer a defendant in a civil suit.”

But what if a constable served Schilling with the subpoena as he passed through Rhode Island?

“Even if he were to be effectively summoned to appear, maybe he would appear, but again, we’d get nothing,” Pulner said, saying Schilling would be advised to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights.

Elsewhere at the State House, the Senate Committee on Government Oversight is set to meet Tuesday, Nov. 24, to receive a status update on the 38 Studios investigations and state lawsuit.

38 Studios went bankrupt in 2012, leaving Rhode Island taxpayers on the hook for roughly $89 million in principal and interest payments on the bonds issued to lure the company to Rhode Island.

Annie Shalvey contributed to this report. 

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