ST. LOUIS (CN) – A startling admission by St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch could reopen the case against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown.
During an interview on KTRS radio Friday, McCulloch admitted that he allowed witnesses who were “clearly not telling the truth” to testify to the grand jury in the case. The grand jury refused to indict Wilson on Nov. 24, sparking widespread looting in the Ferguson area.
Specifically, McCulloch admitted that he allowed a woman to testify for several hours as an eyewitness to the grand jury, even though she “clearly wasn’t present when this occurred.”
That woman, Sandra McElroy, suffers from bipolar disorder but is not receiving treatment and has made racist remarks in the past, according to an investigation by The Smoking Gun. McElroy also said she has trouble with her memory since suffering a head injury in a vehicle accident in 2001.
McElroy testified that Brown charged at Wilson and Wilson fired his gun in self-defense. In a journal entry, McElroy wrote that she visited Ferguson the day Brown was shot because she wanted to “stop calling Blacks N****** and Start calling them people,” according to The Smoking Gun.
On Friday, Missouri lawmaker Karla May called for a legislative investigation of McCulloch’s conduct. May said there is evidence that suggests McCulloch manipulated the grand-jury proceedings to ensure Wilson wasn’t indicted.
McCulloch’s admission of McElroy’s testimony may be a serious ethical breach, according to ThinkProgress.org. Lawyers are prohibited from offering “evidence that the lawyer knows to be false,” under the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct.
McCulloch claims McElroy’s testimony did not affect the grand jury, because it gave no credence at all to her testimony. But ThinkProgress calls this mere speculation since grand-jury deliberations are secret under Missouri law, and McCulloch is not allowed to be present for them.
Under Missouri law, Maura McShane, the presiding judge of the 21st Circuit, could appoint a new prosecutor and restart the case against Wilson if she believes McCulloch demonstrated a conflict of interest or bias.
Double jeopardy would not apply to Wilson in this case, since he was never charged criminally in Brown’s death.
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