Grand juror disputes AG Cameron’s claim that panel was given options in Breonna Taylor case
Attorney general says he won’t appeal judge’s ruling allowing grand jurors to talk
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A grand jury did not agree that certain actions were justified by LMPD officers involved in the deadly Breonna Taylor raid, an anonymous grand juror wrote in a statement Tuesday.
The juror also wrote that the 12-member panel did not decide the indictments against former LMPD Det. Brett Hankison should have been the only charges in the case.
Hankison was one of three officers who fired their weapons the night they served a narcotics warrant at Taylor’s home in March. The other two were cleared, but Hankison, who was fired in June, was indicted last month on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into neighboring apartments. Nobody was charged directly for Taylor’s death.
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On Tuesday, a judge granted that juror’s request to speak publicly about the case Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron presented to the grand jury last month.
Typically, such proceedings are kept private, but after some legal back-and-forth, the entire 15-hour grand jury audio recording was released to the public.
In her 10-page ruling Tuesday, Judge Annie O’Connell wrote there is no need for secrecy as Hankison’s case moves forward.
“As applied in this case, this Court finds that the traditional justifications for secrecy in this matter are no longer relevant,” O’Connell wrote. “This is a rare and extraordinary example of a case where, at the time this motion is made, the historical reasons for preserving grand jury secrecy are null.”
Cameron and Hankison’s attorney, William Stewart Mathews, had argued that unsealing evidence and allowing jurors to speak openly could taint potential jurors in Hankison’s case, and unprecedented media coverage could lead to more threats of violence against the former officer.
Kevin Glogower -- an attorney representing the anonymous juror, as well as a second juror who recently joined the motion -- said at a news conference Tuesday that the jurors' top concern isn’t necessarily related to Cameron’s investigation into the Taylor case, but how it was presented.
“Specifically ... the way that it was portrayed to the public as far as who made what decisions,” Glogower said.
Immediately following that news conference, Glogower shared the statement from Juror No. 1, in which he or she contradicted something Cameron had said when he announced the indictment on Sept. 23.
“The grand jury was not presented any charges other than the three Wanton Endangerment charges against Detective Brett Hankison,” the juror wrote. “The grand jury did not have homicide offenses explained to them. The grand jury never heard anything about those laws.”
Cameron had said his team had walked the grand jurors through all homicide offenses before they began their deliberations.
“Questions were asked about additional charges and the grand jury was told there would be none because the prosecutors didn’t feel they could make them stick,” the juror continued. Read the juror’s full statement below:
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Two hours after WAVE 3 News reached out to Cameron’s office for comment, the attorney general tweeted his response to the judge’s ruling, saying he won’t appeal it, and recalled the point about making charges “stick.”
“It was my decision to ask for an indictment on charges that could be proven under Kentucky law," he wrote in his tweet Tuesday. Read his full statement below:
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While Tuesday’s ruling clears the way for any of the grand jurors to make public statements, there is at least one caveat, Glogower said. They cannot disclose any identifying information of other jurors.
“They’re pleased with the result,” Glogower said of his clients. “They’re still cautious about where they go next. Our office made sure to let them know we are very proud of them.”
Glogower added that the two jurors he represents still wish to remain anonymous, and that they’re still weighing how going public would impact their lives. He also said some things Cameron said outside of the 15-hour recording might now come to light.
“Daniel Cameron kept making statements regarding what occurred outside of recordings, and no one was able to weigh in on that, refute it, clarify it, or, frankly, to tell him that he was incorrect in his statements,” Glogower said. “That ability has now been granted.”
Also, should Cameron reverse course and appeal Tuesday’s ruling, “we would no longer have that ability to speak," Glogower said.
WAVE 3 News legal expert Leland Hulbert explained what could happen if Cameron does appeal:
“We may never know if the Attorney General wanted to appeal this decision. My guess is the statement from the grand juror being released so quickly ended any thought of appealing because the bell had already been wrung. The grand juror statement appears to directly contradict the Attorney General’s comments at the initial press conference. My guess is the prosecutors and/or Attorney General Cameron will issue a statement explaining what the prosecutors said to the grand jury 'off the record,’ and that will likely refute some of the statements published today by the grand juror. Of course that tactic could invite more Grand Jurors to come forward and say what happened that day. Pandora’s Box has been opened and precedents are being set every day that will impact future Grand Jury proceedings in Kentucky.”
Read the judge’s ruling below:
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