The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has dropped perjury charges against Allison Lance Watson after a clerk apparently destroyed the only existing copy of a transcript of discussions in the grand jury room before and after Watson testified.
Watson was reportedly asked whether or not an associate of hers, Gina Lynn, was ever a passenger or drive in a truck that Watson had rented during a period when two acts of animal rights terrorism were carried out in Washington state. Watson reportedly answered no, but the FBI has surveillance footage showing Lynn in the truck.
Watson’s defense at trial was apparently going to be that the U.S. Attorney had tricked her into perjuring herself. To that end, the judge hearing the case ordered the U.S. Attorney’s office to turn over a transcript of discussion within the grand jury room immediately before and after Watson testified.
But the U.S. Attorney was forced to drop the charges after a clerk apparently destroyed 10 years worth of grand jury transcripts made when a witness was not in the room. The clerk apparently falsely believed that electronic backups of the transcripts existed and destroyed the records when the U.S. Attorney’s office recently moved to a new building.
Watson was then ordered again to testify to the grand jury on Sept. 2 which she refused to do. She plead guilty on Sept. 9 to misdemeanor contempt charges for failing to answer the grand jury’s questions.
No perjury charges vs. animal activist. Paul Shukovsky, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 9, 2004.