LOUISVILLE, Ky. – State Attorney General Daniel Cameron asked for a one-week delay in the release of grand jury recordings in the controversial Breonna Taylor decision, saying witnesses’ personal information needs to be protected.
The attorney general’s office filed a motion Tuesday asking the court for an extension.
Cameron’s office said the delay is necessary to protect the interest of witnesses, “in particular private citizens named in the recordings.” His office wants to “redact personal identifiers of any named person, and to redact both names and personal identifiers of any private citizen.”
Heightened publicity over the case has resulted in myriad threats against officers and officials in the case, according to a motion filed by F. Scott Lewis, attorney for the witnesses.
LMPD is “providing extraordinary protection in response to these threats,” including up to 400 hours of security each week to protect officers, public officials and their families, Lewis wrote.
Attorneys for former Detective Brett Hankison, the only person charged by the Taylor grand jury, agreed with the delay, Cameron’s office said.
Elizabeth Kuhn, a spokeswoman for Cameron, said in an email Wednesday morning that the audio recording is 20 hours long and that the office filed a motion to request additional time “to redact personally identifiable information of witnesses, including addresses and phone numbers.”
She said the judge is expected to rule on the motion Wednesday.
“We are complying with the judge’s order,” she said.
On Wednesday, 13 witnesses interviewed by the LMPD Public Integrity Unit and the Attorney General’s Office filed a motion to have their names or other identifying information redacted from the public case file.
They cited the “thousands, if not millions” of people interested in the case and potential for “threats to and reprisals against witnesses.”
“Louisville Metro Police currently has a protective detail connected to this case for this very reason,” Lewis wrote in the motion. “Threats against witnesses and public officials have been investigated and determined to be credible, backed up by specific plans to carry them out.”
Attorney for juror: ‘The public deserves to know everything’
The public filing of the grand jury recording is in response to Judge Ann Bailey Smith’s order Monday for Cameron to include it as evidence in the criminal case against Hankison.
Cameron said he would comply, but he was concerned it could compromise a federal investigation and have unintended consequences of tainting the jury pool.
Sam Aguiar, a Louisville attorney who has represented Taylor’s family, said Wednesday the move was “par for the course for Daniel Cameron to blatantly mislead the public.”
“He literally told the world two days ago that he’d comply with the order,” Aguiar said. “Maybe it’s just now hitting him that the public, when they hear the truth about what happened in the proceedings, will have serious concerns about the integrity of the process.
“Let’s all hope this stall tactic isn’t an effort to buy time and seek a writ.”
Monday, a grand juror in the case filed a court motion – in a very unusual move – calling for the release of the recording and transcript, along with permission to speak freely about what charges and defendants were not considered.
“The public deserves to know everything,” said Kevin Glogower, an attorney for the grand juror in a news conference Tuesday.
One week ago, the grand jury indicted Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment but did not bring charges against any of the officers for Taylor’s death.
Hankison’s charges stemmed from shots he fired into a neighboring apartment with three residents.
Cameron’s investigation has sprung leaks and faced intense scrutiny from the public and attorneys for Taylor’s family. Louisville-based attorney Lonita Baker called for a new special prosecutor to be appointed to present charges in Taylor’s death.