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Appeals court to hear arguments in ex-Vols' rape case

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An appeals court has agreed to hear arguments on whether Tennessee football players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams can issue subpoenas in an attempt to obtain social media communications from witnesses for their upcoming rape trials.

The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals will review Knox County Criminal Court Judge Bob McGee's November ruling on the subject.

McGee ruled against issuing subpoenas to the witnesses themselves, including the woman who says Johnson and Williams raped her in November 2014. But McGee said defense lawyers could try obtaining those communications from service providers. McGee noted the law is not clear on this issue.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel first reported the appellate court's ruling.

Williams has a June 27 trial date. Johnson is scheduled to go on trial July 18.