Judge Patrick Schiltz (my friend and now chief judge of the Minnesota federal district court) has filed a public order concluding his investigation into the illegal leaks of secret grand jury information preceding the indictment of Derek Chauvin by the Biden Justice Department (embedded below). The leaks formed the basis of stories reported in the New York Times and the Star Tribune.
Readers may recall that we have followed the Blue Grand Jury Investigation, as it was denominated, as closely as we could given the confidentiality that shrouded the proceedings. In August 2021 we were afforded an exclusive glimpse into the proceedings. The case has remained under seal since then. Judge Schiltz now reports he came up dry, though not for lack of trying (footnote omitted):
The investigations did not turn up any evidence of any violations of Rule 6(e). Unfortunately, investigators were unable to identify the sources of the grand‐jury information contained in the newspaper articles. Most likely, the inability of investigators to identify the sources of the information was due (at least in part) to two factors: First, an extraordinarily large number of people were given access to the grand‐jury material by the DOJ and the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. Dozens of attorneys were involved in the state and federal prosecutions of Chauvin and his co‐defendants, and those attorneys were assisted by dozens of law‐enforcement officers, investigators, expert witnesses, and others. Second, the DOJ maintains a policy that restricts the use of compulsory legal process to obtain information or records from reporters. Thus, the FBI was blocked from obtaining evidence from the reporters, who, of course, almost certainly knew who had provided grand‐jury information to them.
The Court is disappointed that the sources of the grand‐jury information were not identified, particularly because one or more of those sources may have committed a crime and may have been a prosecutor or law‐enforcement officer who had sworn to uphold the law. At this point, however, the Court reluctantly acknowledges that there is nothing more that can be done to identify the sources of the grand‐jury material. The Court orders that this matter be closed.
I have focused on the leak to the Star Tribune’s Andy Mannix. There was no arguable public purpose supporting the leak. It was simply gratuitous. The Star Tribune knows who the perpetrator is with respect to Mannix, but they aren’t talking. They are protecting the illegal misconduct of law enforcement from disclosure. In my opinion, the result here represents one more abuse of justice in the dual prosecutions of Derek Chauvin.