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Press Release

District Woman Admits to Disclosing the Identity of Superior Court Grand Jury Witness,Comprising Witness Security

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia

            WASHINGTON – Dawn Monique Garris, a 45-year-old District of Columbia resident, pled guilty in federal court in the District of Columbia to contempt in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 402, for disclosing the name of a Superior Court grand jury witness to a D.C. Department of Corrections inmate. 

            Garris pled guilty to Count One of a criminal Indictment charging her with contempt.  According to court papers, Garris was the sergeant-at-arms and a grand juror for a D.C. Superior Court grand jury in September 2019.  She heard testimony from a grand jury witness as part of a violent crime investigation, and then disclosed the identity of the witness to a D.C. Department of Corrections inmate. In doing so, she violated the grand jury secrecy rules and the direction of the Chief Judge of the D.C. Superior Court. 

            “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting the integrity of the Superior Court and the local grand jury process,” Acting United States Attorney Michael R. Sherwin announced. “Today’s guilty plea sends a strong message that any potential for compromising witness security will not be tolerated.”

            “By law, Grand Juries and the matters which appear before them are both protected and secret, and Garris betrayed the special trust which she was afforded," said James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division. "The confidence of the public in the Grand Jury process is central to our judicial system and the rule of law.  The FBI will continue to work to investigate all allegations of public corruption, which is the FBI’s top criminal investigative priority.”

            Garris pled guilty in United States District Court for the District of Columbia.  United States District Judge Carl Nichols is presiding over the case.  Sentencing is scheduled for February 23, 2021. 

            The Washington Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case.  Assistant United States Attorney Liz Aloi of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section is prosecuting the case.

Updated November 23, 2020

Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 20-137