While taking an oath of secrecy, a grand juror recorded himself with his phone, looked into the camera and said “I’m about to lie,” according to federal prosecutors.
Alexander Hamilton — a 28-year-old Washington, D.C. resident not to be confused with one of the founding fathers of the U.S. — filmed grand jury proceedings within D.C. Superior Court and posted the videos to his public Instagram, prosecutors said.
Several videos shared to his account with more than 10,000 followers were of at least 18 different witnesses and their grand jury testimony about serious violent crimes, including homicides, according to court documents, which say their identities were compromised.
In some of the videos Hamilton posted to his Instagram story, he called witnesses “rats” and “snitches” — and even broadcast some testimony live, according to his statement of offense filed in court.
Sometimes, Hamilton overlaid videos of witness testimony with images of rats, the statement of offense says.
In October, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department came across Hamilton’s Instagram account and saw live posts of videos he realized were filmed inside the Superior Court’s grand jury room, according to a criminal complaint. Hamilton was arrested in November 2022, prosecutors said.
On Aug. 29, Hamilton pleaded guilty to contempt and obstruction of justice in violation of federal and D.C. law, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced in a news release.
McClatchy News contacted a federal public defender representing Hamilton for comment and didn’t receive an immediate response.
“The secrecy of grand jury proceedings protects the integrity of ongoing investigations…before serving, grand jurors take an oath to protect this secrecy,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves said in a statement.
“We will vigorously prosecute those, like Hamilton, who compromise the integrity of the criminal justice system.”
Hamilton calls witness a ‘vicious rat’
Hamilton also shared his recordings in text messages, prosecutors say.
In one video sent via text on Oct. 6, Hamilton filmed the face of a grand jury witness and called them a “vicious rat” out loud, his statement of offense says.
Hamilton told investigators he filmed grand jury proceedings on one of his two phones, prosecutors said.
“Hamilton knew, when he disclosed these videos, that doing so violated the grand jury secrecy rules and the Chief Judge’s instructions,” his statement of offense says.
“Hamilton also knew that calling witnesses derogatory names and revealing their identities on his public Instagram could pose a security risk to witnesses, could discourage others from testifying as witnesses, or could otherwise impede the grand jury investigations.”
At a sentencing hearing set for Nov. 29, Hamilton will face up to three years in prison, prosecutors said.