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Grand Juries in the News

Using a Grand Jury to Investigate the September 11, 2001 Terrorist AttacksEnron Investigations,
John Walker Grand Jury, Al Qaeda-Related Terrorism Indictments, Grand Jury Abuse, Other Grand Jury News, Obstructing a Grand Jury Investigation, First World Trade Center Bombing ,
The Role Grand Juries Play in Investigating Terrorism

Using a Grand Jury to Investigate the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks

An article by Susan Brenner and Lori Shaw answering many questions about using a grand jury to investigate the attacks of September 11. Click Here

The Role Grand Juries Play in Investigating Terrorism

An article by Susan Brenner and Lori Shaw discussing the role of a grand jury in investigating terrorism. Click Here

Enron Investigations

If the Enron execs were to get a subpoena from a grand jury, could they plead the fifth amendment like they're doing now, or would they have to answer? If they have to answer, why doesn't the government stop wasting time and send this to a grand jury?

John Walker Grand Jury:

  • On February 5, a federal grand jury indicted John Walker Lindh, the “American Taliban,” for conspiring with Taliban and Al Qaeda forces to kill his fellow Americans. See, e.g., Lindh Indicted,

  • The government apparently sought the indictment to avoid a preliminary hearing on the complaint against Lindh; the government would have had to reveal its evidence against Lindh at a preliminary hearing, but the evidence heard by a grand jury remains secret.
    See, e.g., New Charges for “American Taliban,”

  • The Lindh indictment is available here:  http://foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,44845,00.html

  •  Though the grand jury did not charge Lindh with treason, a federal prosecutor commented that the grand jury could still return a superseding indictment that would contain a treason charge, if the evidence warrants such an indictment. See, e.g., New Charges for “American Taliban,”

Al Qaeda-Related Terrorism Indictments:

  • United States District Court – Southern District of New York, Indictment (98 Cr. 1023), United States v. Usama Bin Laden, et al. (indictment of Al Qaeda members for the 1993 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya), http://www.fbi.gov/majcases/eastafrica/indictment.pdf

  •  United States District Court – Eastern District of Virginia, Indictment, United States, v. Zacarias Moussaoui (indictment of Moussaoui for conspiring with other Al Qaeda members to “kill and maim persons within the United States), http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/moussaouiindictment.htm

  • United States District Court – District of Massachusetts, Indictment (Cr. 02-10013-WGY), United States v. Richard Colvin Reid (indictment of Richard Reid for attempting, on behalf of Al Qaeda, to set off shoe bombs on board an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami), http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/reidindictment.pdf

Grand Jury Abuse:

Other Grand Jury News:

  • Investigatory Grand Jury Report, Re:  Application No. 98-01 (January 12, 2000), This is the report issued by Judge George Thim, who was appointed a one-man grand juror investigate the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley.  Michael Skakel was eventually charged for the murder.  
    See http://marthamoxley.com/.

  • Grand jury testimony in Alger Hiss spy case from the 1940’s,

Obstructing a Grand Jury Investigation

  • On February 28, 2002, in United States v. Schwarz, (Docket Nos. 00-1479, 00-1483 & 00-1515), http://csmail.law.pace.edu/lawlib/legal/us-legal/judiciary/second-circuit/test3/00-1479.opn.html,  the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the convictions of three New York police officers for conspiring to obstruct justice in connection with the investigation of the 1997 assault on Abner Louima in a Brooklyn police station.

     The convictions were based on the proposition that the officers had entered into an agreement to obstruct justice by lying to federal agents investigating the assault in order to interfere with a grand jury investigation into the assault.  Merely lying to the federal agents would not be enough to establish either conspiracy to obstruct justice or an obstruction of justice under 18 U.S. Code § 1503, which is the statute the conspiracy charge was based upon.  The Second Circuit, following the Supreme Court’s lead in United States v. Aguilar, 515 U.S. 593 (1995), http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/94-270.ZO.html, held that the convictions could not stand because the evidence was insufficient to prove that any or all of the officers had intended to obstruct a grand jury investigation.  In Aguilar, a federal judge who had lied to federal agents investigating whether he improperly disclosed a wiretap authorization was charged with obstructing justice under 18 U.S. Code § 1503.  The problem was that the government did not have evidence proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Judge Aguilar knew the false statements he made to the agents would go to a grand jury, thereby influencing the grand jury’s investigation and obstructing justice.  Under the statute, to be guilty of obstructing justice, or of conspiring to obstruct justice, a person must act with the purpose of influencing, obstructing or impeding the “due administration of justice.”  The Supreme Court has held that an investigation by federal agents does not constitute the “administration of justice” under the statute; there must be a grand jury proceeding or a court proceeding for the statute to apply.

    First World Trade Center Bombing

    Indictment  against Lynne Stewart, a defense attorney for Sheik Rahman, who was convicted for his role in the first World Trade Center bombing. The indictment, which also includes several other defendants, can be found online at: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/abdelrahman1.shtml



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