St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch knowingly placed witnesses who were not telling the truth in front of grand jurors investigating this summer’s police officer-involved shooting death of Michael Brown, according to a radio interview he gave Friday.
After nearly a month of silence following the the grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, McCulloch told St. Louis radio station KTRS 550 AM that some of the witnesses were “clearly not telling the truth,” but were allowed them to testify anyway.
“Early on, I decided that anyone who claimed to have witnessed anything was gonna be presented to the grand jury,” McCulloch said, noting that “And I knew that no matter how I handled this, 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.”
On Monday, the Smoking Gun published a story revealing the identity and troubled history of “Witness 40,” a woman whose elaborate story of witnessing Brown’s death was allegedly taken from newspaper accounts. The woman, who told investigators that she is racist, bi-polar and has raised money for Wilson, approached prosecutors five weeks after the Aug. 9 shooting. In a journal entry that she showed the grand jury, the woman said she had driven through Ferguson at the time of the shooting “so I stop calling Blacks N—— and Start calling them People.”
Another witness, according to The Washington Post, described Brown on his hands knees pleading for his life. “What you are saying you saw isn’t forensically possible based on the evidence,” a prosecutor said. That witness, The Post noted, later asked to leave.
Nonetheless, McCulloch told KTRS host McGraw Milhaven that he will not pursue perjury charges. He said he thought it was more important for the grand jury to “hear everything” and assess each witnesses’ credibility on their own.
“But in the situation — again, because of the manner in which we did it — we’re not going to file perjury charges against anyone. 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.”