INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A mistrial has been declared in the federal trial of accused drug kingpin Richard Grundy III and four other suspects.
Court officials confirmed the mistrial Wednesday, though they didn’t elaborate on the reason for the decision. The Department of Justice released a brief statement about the decision that said a court order was violated and the trial would be rescheduled:
United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that the U.S. District Court declared a mistrial in the matter of U.S. v. Richard Grundy, et al. because of a violation of a court order. The trial date will be rescheduled without delay. The government has no further comment.
The surprise move comes after just one day of testimony.
Jury selection in the case began on Monday, followed by opening statements and testimony from DEA agents on Tuesday, the mistrial on Wednesday that derailed the planned 6 week trial.
While the judge’s mistrial order is under seal, an entry of the court minutes explains, "The Court found that its order concerning juror information was violated, and granted the government’s motion for a mistrial."
Security in federal court is always tight, but extra measures were being taken to protect the jurors in Grundy’s case.
Grundy and his four co-defendants, Ezell Neville, Derek Atwater, Undrae Moseby and James Beasley, were not allowed to know the names of the jurors selected.
Attorneys for the defendants were allowed access to the names and identifying information about prospective jurors, but were prohibited from sharing that information with their clients.
That confidentiality was critical to the government because prosecutors claim over the years Grundy has attempted to intimidate witnesses and threatened to kill anyone who cooperated with the federal government.
Still, a mistrial following only one day of testimony is rare.
"It does seem unusual. It’s rare you’ll get a mistrial, but they do happen," said attorney Jeff Mendes.
Attorney Mendes isn’t connected to the Grundy case, but says a mistrial does not mean the case is dismissed. It simply means a new jury will have to be selected and testimony will start from scratch.
"You just have to go with the flow and start over," said Mendes. "99 percent of the time cases of this magnitude will be retried."
In November 2017, federal agents raided a series of homes across Indianapolis.
Prosecutors accused Grundy of coordinating a large scale drug trafficking organization, importing thousands of pounds of marijuana and hundreds of pounds of meth, as well as smaller amounts of cocaine and heroin from Arizona.
Those raids led to an indictment where more than 20 people were charged with federal drug crimes. Most of those suspects pleaded guilty, but Grundy and four others took the case to trial.
The federal mistrial follows previous allegations by Marion County prosecutors that Grundy and his crew were linked to a series of murders.
Prosecutors dismissed those murder charges against Grundy in 2017.