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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Your view: My side left out

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Since I first ran for elective office in Scott County in 1972, I have been especially blessed in many ways, not the least of which is the enduring friendships which I have developed all across the country. As most of my friends are now aware, I was recently indicted by a Scott County Grand Jury. This predicament has served to remind me that in the course of serving as a public officer, there are also may opportunities to create enemies. Unfortunately, as I now realize, that is probably a by-product of holding elective office.

I am not planning to try my case in the press. I do feel, however, that those who have blessed me with their support and friendship over so many years are entitled to hear from me that I absolutely deny the truth of the charges which have been filed against me. It has been a stressful experience, but I am confident that when my case is tried in an open courtroom, the facts will demonstrate that I have done nothing wrong.

Most people may not be aware that Grand Jury Proceedings are conducted in secret, and that for the most part a Grand Jury hears only from those witnesses selected by the Prosecuting Attorney, and considers only such evidence as the Prosecuting Attorney chooses to have it consider. I was never given an opportunity to explain to the Grand Jury that there is a side of the story which was not spoon-fed to the Grand Jury by the Prosecuting Attorney. I would also suspect that now even the Grand Jury realized that just as soon as the Prosecuting Attorney secured the signature of the Jury Foreman on the Indictment, he would immediately file a statement in court asking that the Prosecuting Attorney from St. Louis County be appointed to handle all further proceedings. That request is based, among other things, on an admission by the Prosecuting Attorney that he has a conflict of interest based on his relationship with several of the State's witnesses. It is important that the same relationship between those persons and the Prosecuting Attorney existed on the first day he began attempting to secure an indictment from the Grand Jury, and it continued as he selectively chose what he wanted the Grand Jury to know about my case. If he had a conflict of interest on the day the indictment was signed, then he had a conflict of interest which had been in existence throughout the time he was handling the Grand Jury. In addition to having unilateral control of the evidence, the Prosecuting Attorney is for the most part the sole source of legal advice given to a Grand Jury during its session.

If my case ever eventually gets to a trial jury, then I, as well as the Prosecuting Attorney, will have an opportunity to call witnesses and present evidence. Perhaps more importantly, I will have the opportunity to have the witnesses against me subjected to cross-examination to test their credibility on the issues which are alleged to support the indictment. In that regard, I think it is interesting that the Indictment charges me with having improperly taken some amount between $500 and $25,000. Surely the amount which has been spent on the investigation and the Grand Jury and the length of the investigation would enable them to know with greater accuracy just what I am being accused of. The time span during which this phantom amount is alleged to have been taken is between December 1, 2004, and February 26, 2005, a relatively short period of approximately 13 weeks. That is not an overwhelming amount of time. It simply demonstrates the broadside approach to this case, and in my opinion, the flimsiness of whatever evidence the Grand Jury was given to support the indictment. If they can use the power of the Prosecuting Attorney's office to assert that I stole money then they must know the amount, and, if they don't know the amount then I find it incredible that they can in good faith claim that anything was stolen.

If the Grand Jury had really wanted to known the correct amount it could have obtained it very easily by giving me the opportunity to explain the situation to them. If they had bothered to do that then they would have know that the answer was ZERO.

I look forward to the opportunity to present the evidence which will, in my opinion, clearly establish who is right and who is wrong in this situation. I am grateful that I have the right to have the issues decided ultimately by a trial jury, at which time any witness who claims that I have done anything wrong will have to look me, the trial jury, and the public at large in the eye and say what he or she has to say, without the luxury of hiding behind closed doors and giving secret testimony to a Grand Jury.

Thank you for the opportunity to express my feelings.


Bill Ferrell