JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, and, of course, Witness 40 was—the importance of her testimony was that she, and there’s at least another witness, as I recall, Witness 10, who were the ones who said that Brown charged at police officer Wilson. And so, obviously, if her testimony is impugned, then the issue becomes: What about this other witness? And I want to turn to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. Late last month, he dissected the credibility of that other witness, Witness 10.
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Witness number 10 was working in the neighborhood, and he begins his story to the police with: “I seen the two young guys walkin’ down the street on the same sidewalk that I was on.” Six weeks later, witness number 10 testified to the grand jury and changed his story about where Michael Brown was walking. He said under oath to the grand jury, “I seen Mike Brown and his friend walking down the street closer to the curb, not on the sidewalk.” That is the kind of thing the district attorney was complaining about last night—witnesses changing their stories to fit the publicly known facts.
Here is why witness number 10 was the most important witness to appear in Darren Wilson’s defense. This is what he described Michael Brown doing when Officer Wilson got out of the car and chased him: “[Michael Brown] stopped. He did turn. He did some sort of body gesture. I’m not sure what it was, but I know it was a body gesture. And I could say for sure he never put his hands up after he did his body gesture. He ran towards the officer full charge.” So there’s witness number 10 saying the magic words: He never put his hands up, and he ran towards the officer full charge.
In the grand jury, when the prosecutor asked witness number 10 to describe what he called a “body gesture,” he said, “I can’t say for sure what sort of body gesture. I cannot fully recall. All I know is it was not in a surrendering motion of I’m surrendering, putting my hands up or anything. I’m not sure if it was like a shoulder shrug or him pulling his pants up. I’m not sure.” So, there’s the district attorney’s favorite witness, the only one he quoted last night, saying, “I cannot fully recall. … I’m not sure. … I’m not sure,” within the body of an answer in which the only thing he’s absolutely sure of is that Michael Brown did not do a surrendering motion. In a real courtroom, when a witness begins his answer with “I can’t say for sure,” and then in the body of his answer he says, “I cannot recall fully,” and then says, “I am not sure,” twice within that same answer, that witness observation does not survive cross-examination. But there was no cross-examination in the grand jury room.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Lawrence O’Donnell on his show on MSNBC, Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. And he went on from there. His final point about [witness] number 10 is that when he was asked by the police how far away he was, he said about a hundred yards—a football field away. When he goes into the grand jury, he says something like 50 yards—he cuts it in half—or 50 to 75 yards. Can he see? Does he wear glasses? None of those questions, because this isn’t a trial. This is a grand jury.
This certainly sounds like a witness who was urged by police or the prosecutor to change his testimony. If there are two witnesses who perjured themselves, then the likelihood that the prosecutor is guilty of having induced witnesses to perjure themselves is significant. Time for federal action.