Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump urges Kentucky’s attorney general to release the grand jury investigation transcript on behalf of Breonna Taylor’s family.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A judge has agreed to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s request for a delay in releasing the grand jury recordings in the controversial Breonna Taylor decision, initially due by noon Wednesday.
Cameron asked for a one-week extension in a motion filed Tuesday, saying the delay was necessary to protect witnesses’ personal information. The high-profile case has prompted threats against some officials and officers.
Judge Ann Bailey Smith instead gave his office a new deadline of noon Friday to submit the grand jury recordings.
Stew Mathews, who is representing former detective Brett Hankison, confirmed the new deadline to The Louisville Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network.
Elizabeth Kuhn, a spokeswoman for Cameron, also confirmed the judge’s decision in an email that stated the judge had ruled on the motion and “granted an extension … to give us proper time to redact specific personal information of witnesses.”
Cameron’s office has said the delay is necessary to protect the interest of witnesses, “in particular private citizens named in the recordings.” His office wants to “redact personal identifiers of any named person, and to redact both names and personal identifiers of any private citizen.”
Attorneys for former Detective Brett Hankison, the only person charged by the Taylor grand jury, agreed with the delay, Cameron’s office said.
Kuhn said Wednesday morning that the audio recording is 20 hours long and that the office filed a motion to request additional time “to redact personally identifiable information of witnesses, including addresses and phone numbers.”
Heightened publicity over the case has resulted in myriad threats against officers and officials in the case, according to a motion filed by F. Scott Lewis, attorney for the witnesses.
LMPD is “providing extraordinary protection in response to these threats,” including up to 400 hours of security each week to protect officers, public officials and their families, Lewis wrote.
The public filing of the grand jury recording is in response to Judge Ann Bailey Smith’s Monday order for Cameron to include it as evidence in the criminal case against former detective Hankison.
On Wednesday, 13 witnesses interviewed by the LMPD Public Integrity Unit and the Attorney General’s Office filed a separate motion seeking a limited protective order that would prevent anything included in the public case file from including their names or other identifying information.
The motion cited the “thousands, if not millions” of people interested in the case and potential for “threats to and reprisals against witnesses.”
Attorney for juror: ‘The public deserves to know everything’
The public filing of the grand jury recording is in response to Judge Ann Bailey Smith’s order Monday for Cameron to include it as evidence in the criminal case against Hankison.
Cameron said he would comply, but he was concerned it could compromise a federal investigation and have unintended consequences of tainting the jury pool.
His office filed the motion asking for an extra week on Tuesday.
Sam Aguiar, a Louisville attorney who has represented Taylor’s family, said Wednesday the move was “par for the course for Daniel Cameron to blatantly mislead the public.”
“He literally told the world two days ago that he’d comply with the order,” Aguiar said. “Maybe it’s just now hitting him that the public, when they hear the truth about what happened in the proceedings, will have serious concerns about the integrity of the process.
“Let’s all hope this stall tactic isn’t an effort to buy time and seek a writ.”
Monday, a grand juror in the case filed a court motion – in a very unusual move – calling for the release of the recording and transcript, along with permission to speak freely about what charges and defendants were not considered.
“The public deserves to know everything,” said Kevin Glogower, an attorney for the grand juror in a news conference Tuesday.
One week ago, the grand jury indicted Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment but did not bring charges against any of the officers for Taylor’s death.
Hankison’s charges stemmed from shots he fired into a neighboring apartment with three residents.
Cameron’s investigation has sprung leaks and faced intense scrutiny from the public and attorneys for Taylor’s family. Louisville-based attorney Lonita Baker called for a new special prosecutor to be appointed to present charges in Taylor’s death.
Several groups have called for evidence and grand jury materials to be released to the public in the week since the indictments against Hankison were announced.
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