Judge Patrick Schiltz has presided over the Blue grand jury that handed up the federal indictments of Derek Chauvin and his former colleagues for the alleged violation of George Floyd’s civil rights. Someone privy to the work of the grand jury leaked news of the sealed indictment to Star Tribune reporter Andy Mannix, who broke the news in an April 29 story that gave no hint of the professional misconduct underlying it.
Mannix’s story was based on a single source, so he must have been deemed highly reliable. I inferred at the time that it must have been someone within the circle of the Department of Justice (the local United States Attorney’s office or FBI), but that is just a guess.
It is a shame that Mannix never bothered to ask his source the purpose of this redundant (in Chauvin’s case) or premature (in the case of Chauvin’s three former colleagues) prosecution. Unlike the grand jury leak, that might have served a constructive purpose.
Judge Schiltz has entered an order whose operative paragraph is this one:
To assist the Court in determining how to proceed with respect to the apparent violation of Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e), the Court will order the United States and the State of Minnesota to provide the Court with a list of every person to whom a matter occurring before the Blue Grand Jury was disclosed by an employee or agent of either sovereign [i.e., the United States or the State of Minnesota]. The Court will also order the United States to show cause why it is not in the interest of justice for this Court to appoint independent counsel to investigate and possibly prosecute criminal contempt charges relating to the apparent disclosures of matters occurring before the Blue Grand Jury.
Today the United States has filed a motion seeking a two-week extension to respond to Judge Schiltz’s order, from June 4 to June 18. In the weaselly words of the motion: “The United States has been diligently working to compose and compile its response since the issuance of the Order and requires the additional time to coordinate and finalize its response to the Order.” I have embedded a copy of the motion below via Scribd.
All the action in response to the order is taking place out of public view. I have been digging for information, but it is hard to come by. I can assure you, however, that the Star Tribune is doing precisely no digging. As of this moment the Star Tribune has no story posted on the motion for an extension.
The Star Tribune would prefer that this story go away. They would prefer that the story of the underlying misconduct and its role in it remain buried. The purpose of this series is to keep the story alive until it surfaces again in some form for public consumption.