A previous version of this video misstated the total length of recordings based on initial information provided by Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron isn’t taking any chances.
His office Friday filed a motion to stay a potential judge’s order granting an anonymous grand juror’s right to speak out about the proceedings in the Breonna Taylor case.
Cameron’s motion says the failure to delay any order lifting the secrecy of the grand jury would immediately result in irreparable harm to the commonwealth because jurors could talk before Cameron’s office could file an appeal.
The grand juror “asks this court to invalidate centuries of practice, custom and tradition that make grand jury proceedings secret,” according to the motion filed by Assistant Attorney General Heather Becker. “But it’s not just practice, custom and tradition; it’s the law.”
Becker cited a 1924 case in which Kentucky’s Supreme Court said “it is the public policy of this commonwealth to keep secret the proceedings of the grand jury.”
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The grand juror said in a motion that he is seeking the right to freely discuss how Cameron’s office handled the Taylor case, including evidence, witnesses and charging options that might not have been presented to jurors.
His lawyer, Kevin Glogower, said at a hearing Thursday before Jefferson Circuit Judge Annie O’Connell that Cameron “opened the door” to talking about “all things grand jury” when he held a news conference Sept. 23 following the indictment.
Glogower is representing one of the grand jurors in the Breonna Taylor case who wants the transcripts of the proceedings released.
Louisville Courier Journal
He told media the grand jury agreed that Louisville Metro Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were justified in returning deadly fire after having been fired upon by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker.
The officers were serving a search warrant shortly before 1 a.m. March 13 to look for cash and drugs at Taylor’s home. They said they knocked and announced themselves, then used a battering ram to force open the door when no one responded.
Walker said neither he nor Taylor heard the police and he fired a warning shot when the door burst open, thinking someone was breaking in.
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Police say his shot hit Mattingly in the thigh, serving an artery. Mattingly, Cosgrove and Detective Brett Hankison fired 32 rounds in response, hitting the unarmed Taylor six times and killing her in her hallway.
Cameron has since acknowledged that his office recommended an indictment only of Hankison, who was fired in June, for wanton endangerment for firing into an occupied apartment next to Taylor’s. Hankison has pleaded not guilty.
No one has been charged in Taylor’s death.
Glogower said jurors asked pointed questions during the proceeding but were “shut down” by the prosecution team in a “dereliction of duty.”
Cameron has disputed that, saying jurors received a handbook noting their rights and responsibilities to consider whatever charges they wished.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron answered questions in Frankfort following the grand jury’s decision.
Louisville Courier Journal
He reiterated that Friday in an interview with Lexington talk radio host Larry Glover.
Glover asked: “If the grand jury wanted to, could they have had the option of charging them (Mattingly, Cosgrove and Hankison) with wanton endangerment or something more severe? Was that even on the table, even an option for them?”
Cameron replied: “Keep in mind that the grand jury is an independent body and so we, as, the special prosecutor or prosecutor in the case, you act as the legal adviser during that grand jury proceeding. And so, we certainly made the recommendation as it relates to wanton endangerment and explained the justification as it relates to Mattingly and Cosgrove, but as an independent body, again, they can, you know, steer the conversation in a different direction if they choose to.
“But, again, our recommendation was as to the wanton endangerment.”
Defending secrecy in the process, Deputy Attorney General Victor Maddox said it is essential to protect witnesses and persons accused but not indicted.
He also said secrecy shouldn’t be waived just because one grand juror is unhappy with the result.
Activist Christopher 2X has said another grand juror also wants to talk about the case.
O’Connell said she would rule on the first grand juror’s motion soon.
A criminal rule enacted in 1963 makes grand jury proceeding secret but gives judges the right to direct otherwise at any time.
Follow Andrew Wolfson on Twitter: @adwolfson. Contributing: Tessa Duvall
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