An outrageous prosecution in Atlanta turns scandalous

The charge of murder brought against Garrett Rolfe, the Atlanta police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks, seemed dubious the moment it was filed. On examination, it became clear that the prosecution is outrageous.

The D.A., Paul Howard, Jr., brought charges before the Georgia Bureau of Investigation completed its investigation. And, as Andy McCarthy has shown, Howard’s felony murder theory is ludicrous on the facts of this case.

The prosecution also appears to be politically motivated, and not just as an attempt to appease a mob. Howard is running for reelection. Reportedly, he was trailing in the polls, weighed down by allegations of sexual harassment and corruption. The state ethics board is investigating the corruption charges.

Throwing the book at Officer Rolfe was likely a desperation move to secure Howard’s reelection.

Now comes news that potentially makes this prosecution all the more scandalous. Howard may have fraudulently issued grand jury subpoenas against Rolfe and his fellow officer on the scene when Brooks was killed.

Ed Morrissey has the details, quoting the local Fox News affiliate in Atlanta:

[T]he I-Team has. . .obtained a copy of a Grand Jury subpoena, sent from Howard’s office to the Atlanta Police department instructing them to turn over its “open investigation regarding Garrett Rolfe and the use of force incident.”

The subpoena required that the documents be turned over for the “Grand Jury, June/July term on the of 14th day of July.” Other grand jury subpoenas were issued for phone and surveillance camera videos.

But there is a problem. How can the grand jury issue these subpoenas when there is no grand jury. It had been suspended on March 13 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, legal experts we’ve talked to say Howard’s grand jury subpoena with no grand jury in session could be an ethical or possibly criminal issue.

Howard has offered three explanations for how he got his subpoenas:

Explanation Number one: Howard told the Fulton County Daily Report the subpoenas were sent out for a potential “future grand jury.”

Explanation Number two: Howard later told FOX 5 an employee thought a “past grand jury” was still in session.

Explanation Number three: Friday Howard issued a third statement saying wait – it was neither – there was actually a second grand jury all along that hadn’t been dismissed and was still available.

That second grand jury’s legal term had already ended when the subpoenas were issued.

Jessica Gable Cino, a law professor at Georgia State University, notes that Howard’s three explanations for sending out grand jury subpoenas contradict one another, and none of them makes legal sense. “For all intents of purposes right now it looks like there’s an abuse of process which could completely derail this case, and nobody wants that outcome,” Cino said.

I’m not sure about the last part of that statement.

The outcome I want is a thorough investigation of D.A. Howard and, if the outcome warrants it, the prosecution of this corrupt prosecutor. Georgia’s attorney general reportedly has asked for the investigation.

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