Federal Judge Declines to Expand Access to ‘Highly Sensitive’ Ferguson Grand Jury Details

Michael Brown Sr. (left) and Lezley McSpadden (right)

Michael Brown Sr. (left) and Lezley McSpadden (right)

A federal judge is maintaining limited access to ‘highly sensitive’ details surrounding the grand jury that declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

According to St. Louis’ Fox 2 Now, U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber rejected a request from Brown’s mother, Lezley McSpadden, to allow three more of her attorneys access to the grand jury details. Webber previously agreed to let two attorneys for the defense and each of Brown’s parents view testimonies and witness names from the St. Louis County proceedings. Such details are usually kept secret.

“We now get the chance to have an unblemished look at who said what to whom and under what context,” Anthony Gray, one of the family’s attorneys, told The Associated Press in June. “We consider this to be a huge development in the case, very significant and monumental in terms of discovery.”

Webber is also presiding over a wrongful death suit filed by Brown’s parents back in 2015. In it, they allege that Officer Wilson used “unnecessary and unwarranted profane language,” thus escalating the already tense situation that led to Brown’s death.

According to Atlanta Black Star, the Brown family’s attorneys only need to convince a jury that a preponderance of evidence points to their son’s wrongful death — not the proof beyond a reasonable doubt that is needed to convict in a criminal trial.

“The narrative of the law enforcement all across the country for shooting unarmed people of color is the same: That they had no other choice,” family attorney Benjamin Crump said. “But time and time again, the objective evidence contradicts the standard police narrative.”

Brown’s death and subsequent acquittal of Wilson sparked sometimes violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri and other cities across the country.

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