Ferguson Grand Juror Sues Prosecutor for Putting Michael Brown on Trial Instead of Darren Wilson
A member of the Darren Wilson grand jury is suing St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch for the right to express opinions about the case publicly, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Among the complaints in the lawsuit filed by "Grand Juror Doe," the former juror accuses McCulloch of mischaracterizing the jury's view of the evidence and says that, as a result, the public's perception of its views are not "entirely accurate." Doe also wants to challenge the accuracy of public statements about the grand jury, "especially the implication that all grand jurors believed that there was no support for any charges."
Heavily redacted grand jury documents released to the public lack context and "do not fully portray the proceedings before the grand jury," the suit states. Doe complains that the investigation was supposed to focus on Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown. Instead, the juror says, the proceedings "had a stronger focus on the victim than in other grand jury cases." The legal guidelines presented to the grand jury were "muddled and untimely," the suit claims. The suit asks a judge to rule unconstitutional the Missouri law that criminalizes any of Doe's comments about serving on the grand jury and to prevent McCulloch from prosecuting Doe for speaking out.
“The rules of secrecy must yield because this is a highly unusual circumstance," Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, said in a prepared statement. "The First Amendment prevents the state from imposing a lifetime gag order in cases where the prosecuting attorney has purported to be transparent.”
The lawsuit is the latest blow to McCulloch's failure to get an indictment against Darren Wilson, and what many regard as his highly questionable presentation to the grand jury in the case. McCulloch admitted in December that some of his witnesses lied to the grand jury, and that he knew it. “Clearly some were not telling the truth,” he told KTRS 550.
The most notorious liar was Witness 40, identified as Sandra McElroy. As AlterNet previously reported, McElroy made a number of inconsistent statements to the grand jury about witnessing the shooting. And her claim to have witnessed the shooting at all now seems highly improbable. She has also helped to raise money for Wilson and made a number of racist remarks about African Americans. Calls for a new grand jury have been made and a St. Louis lawmaker has called for a committee to investigate McCulloch.
A spokesperson for the prosecutor's office declined to comment, saying McCulloch has not been served with a suit.