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McCulloch Urges Public To Have Faith In Ferguson Grand Jury Process

St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

For the second time in two days, St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch has issued a statement on the grand jury investigation into the death of Michael Brown. 

"The purpose of the criminal justice system is to search for justice, but before one can determine what is just, one must first determine what is true," read the statement from McCulloch's office, released on Friday morning. "At this stage, the grand jury is engaged in that search for truth."

The two-page statement also said the grand jury investigating Darren Wilson has yet to finish hearing evidence. McCulloch encouraged those following the case via social media and in the news not to prejudge the outcome until all the evidence is known. It followed a shorter statement released on Thursday in which McCulloch categorically denied that anyone connected to the grand jury was leaking information about the case.

Patricia Bynes, the Democratic committeewoman from Ferguson Township, said she believes the grand jury was not making the information public. But, she said, McCulloch made these public statements because he had to do some form of damage control.

"There's no way that he cannot say something, and issue any type of statement from his office," she said. "It's unfortunate that [these leaks] are happening to undermine what's supposed to be a justice system in our community."

However, she added, it's unlikely that his critics will be swayed by either of the statements. Saint Louis University political science professor Ken Warren agreed.

"He's trying to convey to people that he's trying to do the best possible job to make sure that the grand jury arrives at a proper decision," Warren said. "But he's probably not going to be that successful in convincing his critics that he is doing the best job possible even though he probably, frankly, is."

Tuesday's election may be creeping into the equation as well, Warren said.

"The better he looks at handling this grand jury, the more Steve Stenger would benefit as well from it," he said. McCulloch was a staunch supporter of Stenger in the Democratic primary.

McCulloch’s spokesman said the statements are simply meant to “clear up what’s been hanging out there.”

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.