I have been wondering about the Grand Jurors in the CIA Leak investigation. I mean, we constantly hear about Fitzgerald, but there are also 23 other people in that room with him as well. Are they sequestered? No. Each of them can go home at night and do whatever it is that they do. What if they read BooTrib or DailyKos or The Next Hoorah on occasion? What if they came across information related to the case they are involved in? Can they do anything about it?
According to what I have read in the Handbook for Federal Grand Jurors, these Jurors have a considerable amount of power. See the bolded part of the snip from the Handbook:
Handbook for Federal Grand Jurors
As stated above, the federal grand jury’s function is to determine whether a person shall betried for a serious federal crime alleged to have been committed within the district where it sits.Matters may be brought to its attention in three ways: (1) by the United States Attorney or anAssistant United States Attorney; (2) by the court that impaneled it; and (3) from the personal knowledge of a member of the grand jury or from matters properly brought to a member’s personal attention. In all these cases, the grand jury must hear evidence before taking action.
But do they check out the internet in their spare time? Let’s hope so… Why? Because of this:
Ordinarily, the attorney for the government questions the witness first, followed next by the foreperson of the grand jury. Then, the other members of the grand jury may question the witness.
This could also help to explain why Mr. Rove spent over four hours with the Grand Jury yesterday. Remember what Matt Cooper said about his appearance before the Grand Jury in What I Told the Grand Jury:
A grand jury, the old maxim goes, will indict a ham sandwich if a prosecutor asks it of them. But I didn’t get that sense from this group of grand jurors. They somewhat reflected the demographics of the District of Columbia. The majority were African American and were disproportionately women. Most sat in black vinyl chairs with little desks in rows that were slightly elevated, as if it were a shabby classroom at a rundown college. A kindly African-American forewoman swore me in, and when I had to leave the room to consult with my attorneys, I asked her permission to be excused, not the prosecutor’s, as is the custom. These grand jurors did not seem the types to passively indict a ham sandwich. I would say one-third of my 2 1/2 hours of testimony was spent answering their questions, not the prosecutor’s, although he posed them on their behalf. I began to take notes but then was told I had to stop, so I’m reliant on memory.
Other snips from the Handbook I found interesting (all bolding mine):
As a result, a grand jury is able to vote an indictment or refuse to do so, as it deems proper, without regard to the recommendations of judge, prosecutor, or any other person.
The United States Attorney must sign the indictment before one may be prosecuted. Thus, the government and the grand jury act as checks upon each other. This assures that neither may arbitrarily wield the awesome power to indict a person of a crime.
Occasionally, prior to answering a question, a witness may ask to leave the grand jury room to consult with his or her attorney. The grand jury is to draw no adverse inference from such conduct, for every witness has the right to confer with counsel even though counsel may not be present in the grand jury room. In fact, a witness may confer with counsel after each question, as long as he or she does not make a mockery of the proceedings or does not, by such, make an attempt to impede the orderly progress of the grand jury investigation.
This could be another reason it took Rove so long, perhaps he was constantly leaving the room to consult with Luskin!
Upon request, preferably in writing, an accused may be given the opportunity by the grand jury to appear before it…
…Even if the accused is willing to testify voluntarily, it is recommended that he or she first be warned of the right not to testify. Also, he or she may be required to sign a formal waiver of this right. The grand jury should be completely satisfied that the accused fully understands what he or she is doing.
Sounds like Rove is an “accused” to me…
Remember that the grand jury is not responsible for determining whether the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but only whether there is sufficient evidence of probable cause to justify bringing the accused to trial. Only the evidence presented to the grand jury in the grand jury room may be considered in determining whether to vote an indictment.
…but even attorneys for the government may not be informed of what took place during the grand jury’s deliberations and voting.
After reading all of this I have two thoughts:
- I PRAY that these Grand Jurors understand what’s really going on with the Bush administration so they can ask the right questions in a very complicated case.
- I would give my right arm to be a Grand Juror in this case!