Potential witness accepts legal help

A man who says he received 17 phone calls from Nick Blackwell over a three-day period in late May of 2012 was offered the opportunity by Judge Lawton McIntosh to first speak with an attorney before testifying to the jury. The potential witness accepted an opportunity to speak with the public defender after the judge expressed concerns about the possibility he might incriminate himself. The judge spoke to the man outside the presence of the trial jury in the case of South Carolina versus James Bartee. One witness who did take the stand and complete his testimony was an Anderson County sheriff’s officer. That witness said he acted as the driver for confidential informant Blackwell the night Blackwell was wired for a talk with Bartee at the Bartee home near Seneca. Judge McIntosh said this morning it’s likely the trial will run late both today and tomorrow. That has given rise to speculation that the state will soon call Blackwell to the stand. And, at that point, it’s expected the state will offer as evidence the recording from the conversation.