Challenging Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch’s promise to seek a court order releasing the Ferguson grand jury evidence to the public if Officer Darren Wilson isn’t indicted, a St. Louis County circuit judge said she has not yet agreed to the release.
McCulloch, who is not charging Wilson himself in the killing of Michael Brown, and did not give the grand jury a suggested charge, previously said he would take the steps to ask a judge to release records and transcripts of the grand jury proceedings — records that are usually left under wraps.
But Judge Carolyn C. Whittington has “made no such agreement,” according to Paul Fox, the director of judicial administration for the St. Louis County circuit court. On Sunday, Fox responded to an article in the St. Louis Dispatch that suggested Whittington agreed to the release of records.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
In a statement Sunday, Court Administrator Paul Fox said Whittington will have to “analyze the need for maintaining secrecy of the records with the need for public disclosure of the records.”
Fox also said the comments attributed to him in a Sunday Post-Dispatch article saying Whittington had agreed if there is not an indictment to grant such a request were “not accurate.”
“The court will need information it doesn’t have,” Fox said in the statement released Sunday. “It does not know the names of the witnesses who have testified before the grand jury and it has not heard the testimony or read transcriptions of testimony. The court has not seen documents or material presented to the grand jury….
“The court awaits the decision of the grand jury. The court will thereafter be guided by the law in its response to requests for grand jury records.”
Fox’s comments are a stark difference from McCulloch’s promise just two months ago.
“There’s no probably about it,” McCulloch said to KTRS-AM host McGraw Milhaven on Sept. 24. “It will be released … We’ve asked the judge to do that and the judge has agreed that she will do that. If there is no indictment, she will authorize the release of the testimony and the physical evidence that was presented to the grand jury.’’
The grand jury has been meeting since Aug. 20 to determine if Wilson will be charged for the shooting death of Brown. They have not yet made a decision.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest.