Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Drug Case That Won Ferguson Officer Wilson an Award Is Now at Risk; FERGUSON POLICE SHOOTING

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Drug Case That Won Ferguson Officer Wilson an Award Is Now at Risk; FERGUSON POLICE SHOOTING

Article excerpt

CLAYTON * The drug case that resulted in an award for Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson is now at risk after he failed to show up for a hearing in the case Monday.

It raised questions about how many others may be affected by the investigation into Wilson's Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, 18, who was unarmed.

The preliminary hearing was scheduled for Monday in the case of Christopher A. Brooks, 28, who faces a single felony drug charge from a 2013 arrest.

A prosecutor told St. Louis County Associate Circuit Judge Mary Bruntrager Schroder in court that the case would instead be taken in front of a grand jury as early as Wednesday an alternate path to advance the case to trial.

Prosecutors may have no more luck getting Wilson to show there, however.

Brooks' lawyer, Nick Zotos, said he has been told by Wilson's lawyers that Wilson would not appear at the preliminary hearing or in front of a grand jury. Zotos asked Schroeder to dismiss the case or set a hearing a week from Monday.

Instead, she set another hearing for Oct. 27.

In an interview after the hearing, Zotos said that prosecutors would have several chances to get Wilson to the grand jury before the end of the month.

But he said he had been "assured" by Wilson's lawyers that Wilson would not show up for this or any other cases this year. He also said that he spoke with one defense lawyer Monday who had another case involving Wilson, scheduled for trial in October.

Wilson's lawyers could not be reached for comment.

Ed Magee, spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch, said that cases sometimes are scheduled for the grand jury when a witness is unavailable. He said that no decision had yet been made in this case, but said that prosecutors would "take a look at it." Magee also said the case could not proceed if Wilson did not testify.

Magee said that there are about half a dozen pending criminal matters involving Wilson, and prosecutors would be making decisions on a "case-by-case" basis.

The Post-Dispatch has requested records from Ferguson of criminal investigations conducted by Wilson or involving him but has not yet received them.

Wilson has not been seen publicly since Brown's death and is currently on paid administrative leave. He testified Sept. 16 in front of a different St. Louis County grand jury, the one investigating the shooting of Brown.

Asked why Wilson would testify in front of one grand jury and not another, Zotos suggested, "Well, it served his purpose. Today, it doesn't serve his purpose."

Brooks declined to comment after Monday's hearing, but he has been anticipating a dismissal since last month, when he predicted in a Facebook post that the charges would be dropped. He also claimed Wilson "beat my ass in my front yard while I was handcuffed then gave me 6 felonies. …

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