Who’s leaking in Ferguson?

Attorney General Eric Holder said this week that he was “exasperated” by the flood of leaks from the criminal investigations of Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson’s shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9.  He suspects local officials leaked the information favorable to Wilson, just as they had earlier leaked a video allegedly showing Brown robbing a convenience store owner.

But two of the three leaks – the ones in the Washington Post and the New York Times – were written by the newspapers’ Justice Department reporters in Washington.  The Times story on Oct. 17 attributed the information to “government officials briefed on the federal civil rights investigation” – not the state criminal investigation.

That wouldn’t have to be Justice Department officials.  It could be members of Congress who were briefed on the investigation.

The third set of leaks, these to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, were attributed to “a source with knowledge of Wilson’s statements.” That could well be local authorities.

Brown’s family has criticized the leaks and said they demonstrate the unfairness of the criminal investigations.

The Justice Department, which is in charge of the federal investigation, and Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch, who is in charge of the state grand jury investigation, denied leaking.

The general explanation for the leaks is that authorities are trying to prepare the community for a decision not to prosecute Wilson.  The leaks backed Wilson’s account that Brown tried to wrestle the gun from him in the police cruiser.


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