By Elaine Magliaro
Mike Hayes (BuzzFeed) has reported that St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch admitted during a radio interview with KTRS on Friday that he let witnesses who he knew were lying testify before the Ferguson grand jury. McCulloch told radio host McGraw Milhaven, “There were people who came in and, yes, absolutely lied under oath. Some lied to the FBI. Even though they’re not under oath, that’s another potential offense — a federal offense. I thought it was much more important to present the entire picture.” The Ferguson grand jury chose not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Excerpt from the radio interview:
KTRS: Why did you allow people to testify in front of the grand jury in which you knew their information was either flat-out wrong, or flat-out lying, or just weren’t telling the truth?
McCulloch: Well, early on, I decided that anyone who claimed to have witnessed anything was going to be presented to the grand jury.
And I knew that no matter how I handled it, there would be criticism of it. So if I didn’t put those witnesses on, then we’d be discussing now why I didn’t put those witnesses on. Even though their statements were not accurate.
So my determination was to put everybody on and let the grand jurors assess their credibility, which they did. This grand jury poured their hearts and souls into this. It was a very emotional few months for them. It took a lot of them.
I wanted to put everything on there.
I thought it was much more important to present everything and everybody, and some that, yes, clearly were not telling the truth. No question about it.
McCulloch also admitted that the testimony of “Witness 40”– 45-year-old Sandra McElroy–lacked credibility. The St. Louis prosecutor said, “This lady clearly wasn’t present when this occurred. She recounted a statement that was right out of the newspaper about Wilson’s actions, and right down the line with Wilson’s actions. Even though I’m sure she was nowhere near the place.”
Buzzfeed reported that there was no indication that McCulloch’s office instructed the grand jury to consider the credibility of any specific witness. His office has already been criticized for not immediately telling the jurors that a state statute giving officers more leeway on use of deadly force had been found unconstitutional. McCulloch himself has also been accused of being biased toward police.
According to the Associated Press, the interview aired amid a demand by state Rep. Karla May (D) that McCulloch be investigated by a bipartisan committee of state lawmakers.
May wrote the following in a letter to state Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R), the committee’s chairperson: “Many St. Louis-area residents believe — and there is at least some evidence to suggest — that Mr. McCulloch manipulated the grand jury process from the beginning to ensure that Officer Wilson would not be indicted.”
Earlier this week, The Smoking Gun broke the story about “Witness 40” Sandra McElroy’s “fabricated” story.
The Smoking Gun:
The grand jury witness who testified that she saw Michael Brown pummel a cop before charging at him “like a football player, head down,” is a troubled, bipolar Missouri woman with a criminal past who has a history of making racist remarks and once insinuated herself into another high-profile St. Louis criminal case with claims that police eventually dismissed as a “complete fabrication,” The Smoking Gun has learned.
In interviews with police, FBI agents, and federal and state prosecutors–as well as during two separate appearances before the grand jury that ultimately declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson–the purported eyewitness delivered a preposterous and perjurious account of the fatal encounter in Ferguson.
Referred to only as “Witness 40” in grand jury material, the woman concocted a story that is now baked into the narrative of the Ferguson grand jury, a panel before which she had no business appearing.
William Bastone, Andrew Goldberg, and Jeffery Jesselli of The Smoking Gun said that Dorian Johnson’s “hands-up” account of what happened in Ferguson “is often cited by those who demanded Wilson’s indictment.” They also noted that McElroy’s testimony about seeing Michael Brown “batter Wilson and then rush the cop like a defensive end has repeatedly been pointed to by Wilson supporters as directly corroborative of the officer’s version of the August 9 confrontation.” They added that the “Witness 40” testimony, as viewed by Fox News, “is proof that the 18-year-old Brown’s killing was justified, and that the Ferguson grand jury got it right.” Bastion, Goldberg, and Jesselli said that, unlike Johnson, Sandra McElroy “was nowhere near Canfield Drive on the Saturday afternoon Brown was shot to death.”
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch Breaks Silence
Witnesses Lied Under Oath In Ferguson Grand Jury, Prosecutor Says (Huffington Post)
Some witnesses lied to Michael Brown grand jury, McCulloch says. So why have them testify? (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)