Grand Jury Recording Of Breonna Taylor Decision Will Be Made Public Tomorrow
After an earlier refusal, Kentucky’s attorney general has pledged to release the grand jury recording related to the Breonna Taylor case.
Former Louisville Brett Hankison, one of three officers involved in Taylor’s shooting, was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment last week. Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove were not charged.
The ruling has seen calls from Mayor Greg Fischer, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and Taylor’s family’s attorneys to add the panel’s transcript to the court’s case file. Attorney General Daniel Cameron has since agreed to release the recording in lieu of a transcript on Wednesday, September 30.
On Monday, September 28, an unidentified grand juror filed a motion requesting that all recordings, transcripts, and reports pertaining to Taylor’s case be made public, as well as asking to speak publicly to clarify the reality of the ruling over fears their deliberations were misrepresented.
Kevin M. Glogower, the juror’s lawyer, told The New York Times: ‘This is something where the juror is not seeking any fame, any acclaim, any money.’ The court document states it wants ‘only the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’.
Cameron initially aired caution over making the relevant documents public, telling CNN: ‘Such a release could compromise the ongoing federal investigation and could have unintended consequences such as poisoning the jury pool.’
He explained further:
The grand jury is meant to be a secretive body. It’s apparent that the public interest in this case isn’t going to allow that to happen.
As the special prosecutor, our team has an ethical obligation not to release the recording from the grand jury proceedings, and we stand by our belief that such a release could compromise the ongoing federal investigation and could have unintended consequences such as poisoning the jury pool.
However, in lieu of a transcript, Cameron added: ‘Despite these concerns, we will comply with the judge’s order to release the recording on Wednesday.’ While still facing calls for the transcript, he also said it will ‘address the legal complaint filed by an anonymous grand juror’.
The juror, who wishes to remain anonymous, sued for the recordings and transcripts after Cameron claimed the law didn’t permit charges against Mattingly and Cosgrove, who ‘were justified in the return of deadly fire after having been fired upon’.
Citing the public’s distrust of the US legal system and the ‘compelling public interest for these proceedings to be released’, the juror accused the grand jury of using ‘jurors as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility for these decisions’.
They argued that grand jurors have been put ‘on an island where they are left to wonder if anyone who finds them will treat them well or hold the plain and anger of the lingering questions against them’.
Elizabeth Kuhn, a spokeswoman for the attorney general, wrote in an email: ‘We have no concerns with grand jurors sharing their thoughts on our presentation because we are confident in the case we presented.’
However, John Stewart, a criminal defense attorney and former Kentucky Assistant Attorney General, said the grand juror’s filing was unlike anything he’d heard of during his career.
He said: ‘It’s clear that this person is saying, ‘I want to speak the truth’ but are concerned they’ll violate the grand jury process… it seems they’re afraid the attorney general will come after them.’
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