BY Emma Talkoff
The decision was likely made for practical reasons, such as making it easier to call witnesses to testify, and does not necessarily indicate that the former FBI chief is ready to issue indictments, experts say.
“When conducting an investigation, prosecutors commonly work with a grand jury,” said Melinda Haag, former U.S. Attorney in San Francisco. Because of its significant legal power and investigative reach, Haag says, impaneling of a grand journey can happen at almost any point during an investigation—not just near the end.
The use of grand juries, which serve as forums for testimony and evidence gathering before a potential trial, is not uncommon in federal cases. It’s a unique environment with special rules: because there are no defendants, legal counsel is not present, and the prosecutor has significant control over the proceedings. The process can lead to indictments if criminal evidence comes to light.