In his first interview since announcing the grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown, St. Louis prosecutor Robert McCulloch admits he knowingly allowed testimony from witnesses who were probably lying.
"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," he told radio station KTRS Friday.
"There's talk of one witness now, and some of the media is doing exactly what I said they would do, they pull out one witness and just latch on to that, and this lady clearly wasn’t present when this occurred," McCulloch said (and thanks to Buzzfeed News for transcribing the nearly half-hour interview for us). "She recounted a statement that was right out of the newspaper about Wilson's actions, and right down the line with Wilson's actions. Even though I'm sure she was nowhere near the place."
Why put such a person on the stands, then? McCulloch gives a rather weak answer: "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."
Instead, he thought he'd let the grand jury decide for themselves. Which would be fine if they were also presented all the information we now know about this witness' credibility. According to The Smoking Gun, he's probably talking about Witness 40, Sandra McElroy, who gave the FBI conflicting accounts of why she was in Ferguson on the night of Michael Brown's death, and has left a trail of racist remarks on various social media outlets.
McElroy has been diagnosed as bipolar but remains untreated for it, and had expressed support for Wilson (going so far as to try to raise money for him) before ever coming forth to say she witnessed the shooting. She testified that she was smoking a cigarette on the street when she saw Brown stick his head in Wilson's car, run away from it, and then charge back at Wilson in a football stance until he was shot down.
As Buzzfeed points out, it is absolutely at the discretion of the prosecutor to weed out evidence and testimony that he believes is false. It's also up to him to charge such a witness with perjury, but McCulloch said he has no plans to do so. Which makes a strange kind of sense, since he already knew she was lying before she took the stand.