Herenton grand jury's Tuesday hearing canceled - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Herenton grand jury's Tuesday hearing canceled

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - With just two weeks left until the end of the year, the U.S. Attorney's Office canceled Tuesday's grand jury hearing on the investigation of former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton.

The Herenton grand jury had two hearings scheduled this month.  Tuesday was a specially scheduled hearing, while Wednesday is their regularly scheduled hearing.  The cancellation of Tuesday's session lowers the U.S. Attorney's odds of indicting the former mayor before the year is out.

In October, the former mayor confirmed he received a target letter from the U.S. Attorney's Office regarding their probe into private business dealings while he was in office, specifically to determine if Herenton used his office to profit from buying and selling the downtown Greyhound Bus property.

Over the past few months, Action News 5's cameras have captured several members of the mayor's inner circle walking in and out of grand jury hearings where they shared evidence and gave testimony.

Legal experts say if the feds want to indict the former mayor, it's in their best interest to do it before this grand jury concludes.  The Herenton grand jury has been in session since January of 2008. That means their two-year lifespan ends December 31 of this year.

It wouldn't be easy to start from scratch, and legal experts say it's an interesting twist for the feds to cut the grand jury's hearings in half this late in the game, when they have so little time to move their case forward.

The U.S. Attorney's Office would not say a word about the grand jury Tuesday, and they never say why they cancel a hearing.  But it is common for the feds to petition to extend a grand jury for an extra six months.    

Keep in mind, if they decide to meet later this month, the holidays always make it hard to get a quorum.

The court docket shows the Herenton grand jury will meet Wednesday morning at 9 a.m., but the Herenton investigation isn't their only case.  They might or might not hear Herenton's case Wednesday.

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