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Breonna Taylor grand jury was not given option to bring homicide charges, anonymous juror says

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Grand juror speaks on Breonna Taylor case

An anonymous grand juror who considered charges in the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor said Tuesday that prosecutors did not walk the jury through Kentucky’s homicide laws or explain why they decided the two officers who shot Taylor were justified.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office presented the jurors with only the first-degree wanton endangerment charges that it agreed to bring against a third officer involved, the juror said in a statement.

The juror said the panel asked about additional charges and prosecutors told them there would not be any because they “didn’t feel they could make them stick.”

“The grand jury didn’t agree that certain actions were justified, nor did it decide the indictment should be the only charges in the Breonna Taylor case,” the unidentified juror said. “The grand jury was not given the opportunity to deliberate on those charges and deliberated only on what was presented to them.”

The juror’s public statement came shortly after a Jefferson County circuit judge ruled that the juror could speak publicly about the proceedings for the sake of transparency and public trust in the investigation.

Cameron (R) had opposed the juror’s request, arguing that letting the juror discuss what happened would be unfair to witnesses and other jurors.

Cameron said Tuesday that he disagreed with the judge’s decision but did not plan to file an appeal. Prosecutors considered the legal issues of causation and justification, among others, when determining what charges to recommend to grand jurors, he said.

“As Special Prosecutor, it was my decision to ask for an indictment on charges that could be proven under Kentucky law,” Cameron said in a statement. “Indictments obtained in the absence of sufficient proof under the law do not stand up and are not fundamentally fair to anyone.”

No one was directly charged in the killing of Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, during the execution of a search warrant as part of a drug investigation in March. Grand jurors indicted former Louisville officer Brett Hankison on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, accusing him of risking the safety of three people in a neighboring apartment when his bullets entered their home. He has pleaded not guilty.

— Marisa Iati

Maxwell transcripts ordered unsealed

Transcripts of interviews lawyers conducted with the ex-girlfriend of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein must be released by Thursday morning, a judge said Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska’s order allows the public release of transcripts of two days of depositions in 2016 of British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and related documents, along with the deposition transcript of an anonymous accuser.

Preska gave lawyers on each side until 9 a.m. Thursday to confer and release the transcripts. The depositions were taken as part of a lawsuit brought against Maxwell by Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Giuffre had accused Maxwell of aiding Epstein in the abuse of Giuffre before she was an adult. The lawsuit was eventually settled.

Lawyers for Maxwell, 58, had argued that the documents reflecting seven hours of interviews over two days should remain sealed, in part to protect her right to a fair trial in July on charges that she helped Epstein traffic and sexually abuse teenage girls in the 1990s.

They noted that portions of the transcripts relate to perjury charges in the indictment she faces. She has pleaded not guilty. Maxwell has been incarcerated since her arrest in July and faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

— Associated Press