Criminal Defense Attorney Anastase Markou of Levine & Levine spoke with MLive.com following a federal judge’s denied request from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to share secret grand jury testimony on the plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.
With two distinct prosecutions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office sought to streamline efforts by making the rarely granted request, but U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Jonker said the government’s arguments were too weak.
“The government believes disclosure of the materials would assist the state in prosecuting certain individuals ... who supported the federal defendants’ plans to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer,” Jonker wrote in the decision published Feb. 16. “Grand jury testimony is presumptively secret, and a party must normally demonstrate a ‘particularized need’ for the material to overcome the presumption of secrecy. The government has not made, or even attempted to make that showing here.
“Moreover ... something more than a simple government request is necessary. But on the present record, that is really all there is.”
Markou, who’s practiced federal criminal defense for 27 years and is not involved in the case, told MLive he’s not sure why the federal government wanted to provide the information to state prosecutors, since the state has “multiple other ways” it could obtain the same information, including subpoenaing witnesses.
“I’ve never had this experience where there’s been a request from the federal government to release grand jury testimony to a state prosecutor,” Markou said, “never seen it.”
Read the entire MLive story, here.