Special counsel John Danforth, ending a detailed review of the horrific 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian Complex at Waco, has indicted former US attorney Bill Johnston.
The indictment, issued by a St. Louis grand jury convened by Danforth contains five counts against the prosecutor, who, along with US attorneys Ray and LeRoy Jahn, prosecuted the 11 surviving Davidians in 1994.
The indictment, according to news reports, charges Johnston with lying to and obstructing the special counsel investigation by withholding notes that he knew about the government’s use of pyrotechnic tear-gas shells during the siege that killed Davidian leader David Koresh, seventy-five of his followers, and four federal agents.
Attorneys for the three lawyers claimed that the prosecutors did not understand that the incendiary shells could cause fires when they repeatedly denied that government agents used anything incendiary on the day that the fire killed so many.
Danforth’s report also reiterated his previous finding that the government did not ignite the blaze at the compound. “The government can survive mistakes and lost trials,” Danforth said. “The loss of honesty and integrity on which public trust depends is more damaging.”
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