FRANKFORT (KT) — Although grand jury testimony in the Breonna Taylor investigation has been released, Attorney General Daniel Cameron is seeking to keep one of those on the panel from going public.
The unnamed grand juror filed a lawsuit at Jefferson Circuit Court, seeking permission to speak freely about his or her experiences, and a second grand juror has reportedly contacted community activist Christopher 2X about doing the same thing.
A motion filed by Cameron argues that the proceedings and testimony before a grand jury are required by law to remain secret. It also points out that the grand juror does not seek to limit the scope of his or her disclosures. He says this type of broad and unchecked disclosure could jeopardize, not only witnesses and other grand jurors, but also set a dangerous legal precedent for future grand juries.
Cameron admits he has no problems with grand jurors sharing their thoughts and opinions about him and his office’s involvement in the investigation, but he does have concerns about unlimited disclosure of the proceedings.
“The grand jury process is secretive for a reason,” he said, “to protect the safety and anonymity of all the grand jurors, witnesses and innocent persons involved in the proceedings. Allowing this disclosure would irreversibly alter Kentucky’s legal system by making it difficult for prosecutors and the public to have confidence in the secrecy of the grand jury process going forward.”
The attorney general’s motion notes that the case of the grand juror is similar to one filed by a grand juror following a 2014 police-involved shooting resulting in the death of Michael Brown. That case, Doe v. McCulloch, was initiated by a member of the St. Louis County grand jury in the case. The court rejected the grand juror’s request to “completely invalidat[e] Missouri’s grand jury secrecy laws as applied to her[.]”
Cameron’s motion has the support of the Kentucky Commonwealth’s Attorneys Association. They issued a statement which says in part:
“The historical protections of grand jury secrecy are important and should not be set aside because of the dissatisfaction of a party or a grand juror or a victim. Criminal cases invariably leave one or more participants in the process aggrieved. Setting aside the important safeguard of secrecy because of disagreement with a result is essentially setting it aside for no special reason at all.”