I thought I was done with posting on events in Missouri. Seriously. Then, the St Louis Prosecutor Bob McCulloch decided to do a radio interview with radio station KTRS. In this interview on The McGraw Show, McCulloch pretty much admitted to suborning perjury. It seems that I’m not the only one that has a question about that either.
For a little background information, subornation of perjury is a federal offense. According to 18 U.S. Code § 1622, “Whoever procures another to commit any perjury is guilty of subornation of perjury, and shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.” From Wikipedia: In American law and in Scots law the subornation of perjury is the crime of persuading a person to commit perjury — the swearing of a false oath to tell the truth in a legal proceeding, be it spoken or written. The term subornation of perjury further describes the circumstance wherein an attorney at law causes a client to lie under oath, or allows another party to lie under oath.
Here’s a snippet of the interview conducted (h/t Buzzfeed) *emphasis theirs:
KTRS: Why did you allow people to testify in front of the grand jury in which you knew their information was either flat-out wrong, or flat-out lying, or just weren’t telling the truth?
McCulloch: Well, early on, I decided that anyone who claimed to have witnessed anything was going to be presented to the grand jury.
And I knew that no matter how I handled it, 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.
So my determination was to put everybody on and let the grand jurors assess their credibility, which they did. This grand jury poured their hearts and souls into this. It was a very emotional few months for them. It took a lot of them.
I wanted to put everything on there.
I thought it was much more important to present everything and everybody, and some that, yes, clearly were not telling the truth. No question about it.
Based upon his own statement there, he committed subornation of perjury by allowing the witnesses to lie under oath. Furthermore, the assistant prosecutors themselves may have broken the same law by giving the jurors misleading instruction on the application of force.
Before Wilson testified to the grand jury on September 16, prosecutors gave grand jurors an outdated statute that said police officers can shoot a suspect that’s simply fleeing. This statute was deemed unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1985; the court ruled that a fleeing suspect must, at least in a police officer’s reasonable view, pose a dangerous threat to someone or have committed a violent felony to justify a shooting.
Prosecutors, who had full control of the evidence presented to the grand jury, took more than two months to correct their mistake, O’Donnell said. The prosecutors on November 21 — just three days before the grand jury reached a decision — gave the correct standards to the grand jury. But as O’Donnell explained, the prosecutors didn’t specify what exactly was wrong with the outdated statute — and they didn’t even clearly say, after they were asked, to the grand jurors that Supreme Court rulings do indeed override Missouri law.–Vox.com
McCulloch is on tape admitting such, and I don’t see how he could weasel his way out of his own words. That said, I doubt anything will come of this, and I would be surprised if he faces any consequences for his actions. That’s including him saying that he wasn’t going to pursue charges of perjury against anyone, including now infamous Witness #40.
Had he recused himself as many asked him to do, this wouldn’t be an issue at all. There’s no way to say the outcome would have been any different, but we would not have another controversy to discuss at this point. All along, many have raised the issue of mistrust in the justice system. Revelations, such as the one given during this interview, don’t heap assuage those feelings one bit.