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Press Release

District of Columbia Man Pleads Guilty to Obstruction of Justice For Illegally Recording and Publishing Grand Jury Proceedings

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant, a Former Grand Juror, Also Pleads to Contempt

WASHINGTON – Alexander Hamilton, 28, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty today to contempt and obstruction of justice under federal and District of Columbia law, U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves announced.

Hamilton entered his plea this morning in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before the Honorable Judge Amy Berman-Jackson, who scheduled sentencing for November 29, 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 was 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.” He was arrested on November 17, 2022.

“The secrecy of grand jury proceedings protects the integrity of ongoing investigations, ensuring that grand jurors and witnesses are free from improper influence; safeguarding against the possible destruction of evidence by those investigated; and protecting the privacy of uncharged individuals,” said U.S. Attorney Graves. “Before serving, grand jurors take an oath to protect this secrecy. Hamilton’s violation of his oath is a crime. We will vigorously prosecute those, like Hamilton, who compromise the integrity of the criminal justice system.”

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. The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes.

The contempt charge is a federal offense, and the obstruction charge is a District of Columbia offense. The plea agreement calls for an advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines range of 6 to 36 months of incarceration. The defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court based on the advisory range and other statutory factors.

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

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

Updated August 29, 2023

Press Release Number: 23-494