Grand Juror In Ferguson Case Sues To Challenge Gag Order

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An unidentified grand juror is suing St. Louis Prosecutor Robert McCulloch to speak out about the case investigating the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of "Grand Juror Doe." The lawsuit says the grand juror takes issue with the McCulloch's claim that it was a unanimous decision from the grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson.

Tony Rothert, legal director for the ACLU of Missouri, is lead attorney on the case, and joins Here & Now's Robin Young with details.

He says that if the prosecutor of the Wilson case had kept the evidence private, as is traditional, the gag order would make sense.

"Here, the prosecutor has taken the unprecedented step of releasing all of the evidence that was before the grand jury," Rothert says. "In effect, these 12 grand jurors are the only people in the world who can't comment."

Interview Highlights

On the prosecutor's statement that it was a unanimous decision
"It's inaccurate to say that the jury came to a collective decision, that there was no evidence supporting any kind of indictment. I don't know whether there was a vote or what it was, but it takes nine out of 12 jurors to vote for an indictment. There could be an 8-to-4 vote in favor of an indictment and there would be no indictment, yet the way the prosecuting attorney has portrayed it is that there was a collective decision that there was insufficient evidence."
On potential issues within the case
"The grand jury had been together for several months and heard hundreds of cases, up to 50 a day. They were usually 5 or 10 minutes long, the presentation of the cases, and then they'd return an indictment. Our client, he or she, says that the Wilson investigation was very different in many ways and the witnesses for the target, Officer Wilson, you know, were not vigorously questioned were not cross-examined by the prosecutors, yet people who testified against him were cross-examined and their credibility was brought into doubt by prosecutors. So that was a different experience than the earlier grand jury cases and that's something that they'd like to talk about."


This segment aired on January 7, 2015.


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