District of Columbia Man Charged with Obstruction of Justice for Illegally Recording and Publishing Grand Jury Proceedings

District of Columbia Man Charged with Obstruction of Justice for Illegally Recording and Publishing Grand Jury Proceedings

Defendant, a Former Grand Juror, Was Arrested Today; Also is Charged With Contempt

            WASHINGTON – A criminal complaint was unsealed today in the District of Columbia charging a Washington, D.C. man with contempt and obstruction of justice under federal and District of Columbia law, U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves announced.

            Alexander Hamilton, 28, was arrested today and made his initial appearance this afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was released on personal recognizance, with restrictions on social media use, pending a preliminary hearing set for Jan. 11, 2023.

            According to an affidavit in support of the complaint, officers with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) observed a public Instagram account with approximately 10,400 followers posting multiple videos, with sound, that recorded the proceedings within the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Grand Jury room located at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

            Personnel from the U.S. Attorney’s office recognized the individual in the video as Hamilton, a grand juror. During a consensual interview with law enforcement, Hamilton admitted to recording grand jury proceedings and posting them to his Instagram Story. Hamilton indicated that he filmed the proceedings using one of two phones that he owns. A forensic extraction of Hamilton’s phone identified videos of live grand jury testimony. Hamilton also sent dozens of messages via text message and Instagram sharing the videos or discussing his grand jury service. Additionally, Hamilton demonstrated an awareness in numerous messages that he is not permitted to have his cellphone in the room during presentations before the grand jury.

            Hamilton had been sworn in as a grand juror on Sept. 9, 2022. During orientation, he took an oath to, among other things, keep secret the information learned during grand jury service. A video taken on Hamilton’s phone on Sept. 9, 2022, depicts Hamilton recording himself (i.e., a selfie). Specifically, the video shows him standing with his right hand raised as the oath described above was read to him aloud. In the video, Hamilton looks down at the phone and states, “I’m about to lie.”

            All grand jurors are instructed that grand jury proceedings are secret and must remain secret permanently unless and until the Court determines that the proceedings or a portion of them should be revealed in the interest of justice. Grand jurors are admonished to preserve the secrecy of the proceedings by abstaining from communicating with family, friends, representatives of the news media or any other person concerning that which transpires in the grand jury room. Moreover, grand jurors are required to place their phones and any other potential recording devices into lockers located in the lobby of the U.S. Attorney’s Office prior to proceeding to the grand jury rooms.

            Charges in criminal complaints are merely allegations and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

            The contempt charge is a federal offense, and the obstruction charge is a District of Columbia offense. If convicted of any offense, a defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court based on the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            This case is being investigated by the Criminal Investigations Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department.

            The case is being prosecuted by the Federal Major Crimes Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

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