In an interview on McGraw Live, Bob McCulloch expands on his previous statements to set the record straight on a few things; one of which being why he allowed people he knew to be lying to testify in front of a grand jury. An act which many have said fits the legal definition of suborning perjury. Definition: “The criminal offense of procuring another to commit perjury, which is the crime of lying, in a material matter, while under oath.”
We know now that a least a few of the 62 witnesses called in the Ferguson shooting were lying, and that holds true on both sides. Of course, out of 62 people, it’s not unlikely a few would be liars — which is exactly why prosecutors don’t put 62 people up to testify before a grand jury. Sunny Hostin, former federal prosecutor:
“Prosecutors generally present very streamlined cases to the grand jury. As a prosecutor you should not present witnesses in front of the grand jury that you wouldn’t present at trial.”
And yet, that McCulloch did. Some say, he did so in a deliberate attempt to confuse and overwhelm the jury with eyewitness accounts that conflict on details large and small. And a few were outright red herrings, as in the case of bipolar racist, Juror No. 20. Having gleaned what details she could from Fox News, Juror 20 came in and recited by rote everything she’d believe would exonerate Wilson for righteously gunning down another “n*gger.”
McCulloch knew it, too. In fact, the woman’s testimony was so unbelievable that even one of the jurors asked her if she “might have dreamed the whole thing.” But McCulloch didn’t see a problem with putting a liar on the stand. Why? Because in this particular case, he felt it best to put everyone on the stand.
And instead of doing his job as a prosecutor, and putting up only the witnesses against Wilson, and only those he’d put on the stand in trial later, McCulloch though it best — again, in this particular case — to hold trial with the grand jury. A trial in which he was both “prosecutor” and defense attorney.
Primarily the latter. And proof that McCulloch doesn’t understand his job as a prosecutor, in his own words, at 14:47:
“My job is not to get an indictment. My job is to seek the truth and seek justice, and do what is right and what’s appropriate.”
Actually, no. That’s the jury’s job. The trial jury. Not the prosecutor, not the grand jury. In point of fact, getting an indictment is a “prosecutor’s” only job. Maybe McCulloch needs to brush up on his law training. But his reasoning for holding his mock trial, instead of seeking indictment against Wilson?
“[The Grand Jury] is in a perfect position to assess credibility, which is what jurors do.”
He also said that the grand jury is invested with “investigatory powers” of its own, and that it was the grand jury’s responsibility to figure out which of the 62 witnesses were credible. And to his credit, McCulloch would be correct — IF he were speaking of a trial jury. That is a trial jury’s job. A Grand Jury’s job is to decide if there are grounds for officially accusing someone of something. And a prosecutor’s job — his only job — is to convince them that there is.
So, why did McCulloch punt in this case? Why not seek the indictment, as was his job? In a word?
He makes a point later in the interview that he had in fact indicted many officers for crimes and misconduct before, and successfully gotten convictions against them. In those cases, he did not just bombard a grand jury with 62 witnesses, some of which he knew to be lying. He presented a “streamlined case,” and got the indictment he was trying for. But this case, he opines, “was an exception.”
He points out a similar case not long ago with a similar result; white cop kills unarmed black man. No indictment, no trial no conviction. while somehow not realizing the irony of the fact that this is only proving the basic point that Missouri has a longstanding history of Michael Browns and walking cops, he says nobody raised a stink about that one.
Though it does raise the question of whether, in that case, McCulloch was being a prosecutor, or seeking truth and justice. Which, again, last we heard, was a trial jury’s job.
Ine effect, McCulloch’s position was this: He didn’t want to be the guy to prosecute a Darren Wilson, or be held accountable for doing so in the national spotlight. So he punted his responsibilities to the Grand Jury, and held a mock trial with no cross-examination or adversarial process.
S.t Louis County “Prosecutor” Bob McCulloch was just reelected to his position with a 97 percent vote.
He ran unopposed.