William Bastone, Andrew Goldberg & Joseph Jesselli
The Smoking Gun
December 15, 2014
12/16 UPDATE: Following the publication of this story, Sandra McElroy acknowledged to TSG that she is “Witness 40.” Voicing concerns for her minor children, McElroy said that she directed them to delete their Facebook accounts, adding that she has done the same. “After I speak with the prosecutor, attorney, and Police if they say its alright I will call you,” she said. McElroy subsequently asked to have an off-the-record conversation, a request to which a TSG reporter agreed.
DECEMBER 15–The grand jury witness who testified that she saw Michael Brown pummel a cop before charging at him “like a football player, head down,” is a troubled, bipolar Missouri woman with a criminal past who has a history of making racist remarks and once insinuated herself into another high-profile St. Louis criminal case with claims that police eventually dismissed as a “complete fabrication,” The Smoking Gun has learned.
In interviews with police, FBI agents, and federal and state prosecutors–as well as during two separate appearances before the grand jury that ultimately declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson–the purported eyewitness delivered a preposterous and perjurious account of the fatal encounter in Ferguson.
Referred to only as “Witness 40” in grand jury material, the woman concocted a story that is now baked into the narrative of the Ferguson grand jury, a panel before which she had no business appearing.
While the “hands-up” account of Dorian Johnson is often cited by those who demanded Wilson’s indictment, “Witness 40”’s testimony about seeing Brown batter Wilson and then rush the cop like a defensive end has repeatedly been pointed to by Wilson supporters as directly corroborative of the officer’s version of the August 9 confrontation. The “Witness 40” testimony, as Fox News sees it, is proof that the 18-year-old Brown’s killing was justified, and that the Ferguson grand jury got it right.
Though prosecutors have sought to cloak the identity of grand jury witnesses, a TSG investigation has identified McElroy as “Witness 40.” A careful analysis of information contained in the unredacted portions of “Witness 40”’s grand jury testimony helped reporters identify McElroy and then conclusively match up details of her life with those of “Witness 40.”
TSG examined criminal, civil, matrimonial, and bankruptcy court records, as well as online postings and comments to unmask McElroy as “Witness 40,” the fabulist whose grand jury testimony and law enforcement interviews are deserving of multi-count perjury indictments.
McElroy did not reply to an e-mail seeking comment about her testimony. Messages sent yesterday to her three Facebook pages also went unanswered. Also, a message left on a phone number linked to McElroy was not returned.
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