By Elaine Magliaro
Last Wednesday, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez spoke with William Bastone, the lead author of The Smoking Gun article that exposed the identity of “Witness 40.” On Monday, The Smoking Gun identified “Witness 40” as Sandra McElroy–a “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.'” McElroy told the grand jury that Brown charged at Wilson “like a football player.” It is now believed that McElroy lied “about witnessing the shooting, which occurred 30 miles from her home.”
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Amy Goodman asked William Bastone to explain how The Smoking Gun discovered who “Witness 40” was.
WILLIAM BASTONE: Well, what we did is we looked at two volumes of her grand jury testimony, which is heavily redacted, but we zeroed in on the portions that gave a little bit of biographical detail about her…And we used that information—you know, everything from the fact that she was adopted, divorced, had a couple of felony convictions and some other stuff—and then we basically went online and looked at some—a Facebook page that we believed she was associated with. And I’ll spare you all the details, but by a process of elimination, we zeroed in on her, figured out—got her name, and then we went and checked on Sandra McElroy’s background, and it basically dovetailed exactly with Witness 40—everything.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, in her testimony, she had admitted that she had been convicted of—
WILLIAM BASTONE: Check fraud.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —check fraud, right?
WILLIAM BASTONE: Two felony counts of check fraud in 2007, had received three years of probation, a suspended sentence. And so, you know, then we reached out to a couple other people who had had interactions with her, and it made us convinced it was the same woman.
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