Lawyer: Plea offer tried to link Breonna Taylor to drug ring
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A lawyer for Breonna Taylor’s family said prosecutors offered a plea deal to an accused drug trafficker that would have forced him to implicate Taylor in criminal activity after her killing by police had pushed her name to the forefront of a national reckoning on race.
Louisville’s top prosecutor said the document was not an attempt to smear Taylor but was part of preliminary plea negotiations with a man charged with illegal drug trafficking.
Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar posted a photo on social media Monday that he said was a plea offer to Jamarcus Glover from prosecutors. The photo of the document appeared to show Taylor listed as a “co-defendant” in illegal activities leading up to April 22, weeks after her death.
“Why would they put her name on there?” Aguiar said in a statement sent to news media. “It’s outrageous.”
Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said that document was a “draft that was part of pre-indictment plea negotiations.”
Taylor was fatally shot March 13 in her home by police serving a narcotics search warrant as part of a wide-ranging police operation targeting Glover, Taylor’s former boyfriend. Glover and others were arrested on drug trafficking charges the night Taylor was shot.
The shooting has sparked months of protests in Louisville by activists who along with celebrities and athletes have called for the officers to be charged in her death. The plea deal revelations came as protesters planned to demonstrate this weekend outside the Kentucky Derby, which will be run without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wine recused himself in May from an investigation into the police actions on the night Taylor was killed. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office is now handling that investigation, which Cameron has indicated is nearing a conclusion.
Wine issued a statement Monday saying Taylor was never a co-defendant in the case against Glover.
“Those drafts (posted by Aguiar) were never part of the court record and are not court documents,” Wine said. Wine said when he was advised of the plea discussions, “out of respect for Ms. Taylor, I directed that Ms. Breonna Taylor’s name be removed.”
Wine provided a copy of what he said was the final plea deal offered to Glover, which did not include her name but did list her address as a place where Glover picked up mail packages.
Aguiar said Tuesday that he had received the photo of the plea deal with Taylor’s name on it from Glover’s family. Wine said his final plea offer was sent to Glover on July 21. That offer said Glover would have to accept the deal for a 10-year sentence on a dozen drug charges by July 21. Glover turned down the deal.
Wine said Glover implicated Taylor in his criminal activity in jail phone calls to Taylor. Jail phone calls reported by news media show Glover called Taylor 26 times in early January, including some calls to ask her to help him gather bond money.
The plea document furnished by Wine also said Glover kept some of his money at Taylor’s address.
Also Tuesday, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, filed a lawsuit seeking an unspecified amount in damages from the city and police for assault, battery, false arrest and malicious prosecution. Walker was with Taylor in her apartment and fired a single shot at officers, who he said he thought were intruders breaking into the apartment. Walker has said he and Taylor did not hear the police identify themselves as officers before coming through her door.
Walker was initially charged with attempted murder of a police officer but Wine dismissed that charge in May. Walker is seeking immunity from prosecution under the state’s “stand your ground” law.