NewsCovering Kentucky


AG Daniel Cameron granted extension for releasing Breonna Taylor grand jury recording until Friday

Posted at 11:00 AM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 19:49:35-04

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — The recordings of the grand jury proceedings in the case surrounding the shooting death of Breonna Taylor were not released on Wednesday, as originally ordered.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a motion requesting an extension of one week to redact the personal information and possible identifying markers of certain witnesses and private citizens.

Judge Ann Bailey Smith of Louisville granted an extension of 48 hours. Those tapes now must be released by this Friday at noon.

"By opening these up to the public, I can see there are some security concerns if there are addresses and phone numbers that were mentioned during the grand jury's proceedings," said defense attorney Abe Mashni of Lexington's Baldani Law Group.

Mashni covered a wide range of topics regarding the release of grand jury testimony, including how the public's consumption of such could hinder the likely prosecution of former Detective Brett Hankinson on wanton endangerment charges.

"In any high-profile case with a lot of publicity, tainting of the jury pool is always a problem," Mashni said. "It's probably going to make the jury selection process go a lot longer than in a normal case."

A trial against Hankinson would be somewhat abnormal because of that grand jury testimony going public.

"In a normal trial, the grand jury recording would not be played at a trial," Mashni noted while leaving open the exception to the rule should there be conflicting testimony from someone.

"In any trial, a jury should only judge a case based on the facts and evidence (presented) at that trial, nothing more and nothing less," Mashni adds.

Mashni said filing a change of venue for Hankinson's trial would likely prove fruitless as well, given the attention the case has received around the nation and across Kentucky.

"You don't want jurors to have pre-judged the case, or have the knowledge they wouldn't otherwise have," Mashni added.

Cameron will undoubtedly protect or keep private those grand jury deliberations that could compromise any case against Hankinson. He now has 48 hours to make the necessary redactions so not to compromise the identity of those entitled to privacy.