In a breathless report some four months after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown, CNN pens a piece that says the grand jury that ruled against an indictment “heard from witnesses who couldn’t be believed at all.”
Some admitted lying. Others changed their stories under questioning. Prosecutors were so skeptical of one woman’s account that they asked whether she might have dreamed about seeing the confrontation in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9.
Most of the dozens of witnesses who testified likely did their best to describe what they saw, but a review of thousands of pages of grand jury documents shows that untrustworthy testimony came from some witnesses on both sides.
Remember, it was CNN and other mainstream networks that pushed the initial version of the story, quoting a “witness” who also happened to be the accomplice to Brown when he robbed a liquor store, strong-arming the much smaller clerk. The network repeatedly aired Dorian Johnson saying Brown was shot when he had his hands in the air.
Now, though, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin says: “It’s no surprise that some people did not tell the truth in this or any other grand jury.”
CNN has also reveled in the coverage of riots across the country, deploying a team of reporters to Ferguson to air live shots of a rampage after the non-indictment. More than two weeks after the release of reams of testimony, CNN finally reports on what the grand jury members heard.
Here’s a look at some examples:
Witness 35 said Brown was “on his knees” when Wilson shot him in the head.
Under questioning, however, his testimony fell apart.
“What you are saying you saw isn’t forensically possible based on the evidence,” a prosecutor said.
The witness acknowledged making up testimony. …
Prosecutor: ‘Did you see this at all?’
Prosecutors called Witness 22 to explain that she lied to investigators and never witnessed the incident.
“You gave two statements, were both of those statements true?” a prosecutor asked.
“No,” she answered. “I just felt like I want to be part of something … I didn’t see what I told the FBI what (sic) I saw.”
She said she was actually passing along what her boyfriend told her he saw. …
Another witness — number 37 — testified to seeing events that are hard to believe. He said that during a confrontation at Wilson’s vehicle, Wilson shot Brown point blank in the chest — but that Brown did not fall over and was not clearly bleeding as he ran away.
The witness also gave differing accounts as to how many shots were fired.
“You told three different stories in the time we’ve been here today. So I want to know which one is really your memory or did you see this at all?” a prosecutor asked.
Witness 37 posed an intriguing question to the prosecutors.
“If none of my stuff is making any sense, like why do y’all keep contacting me?” the witness asked.
In conclusion, CNN quotes its legal expert Toobin saying: “I actually think the result — no charges — is defensible.
Read the whole story here.