The Intelligence Report is the SPLC's award-winning magazine. Subscribe here for a print copy.

Former DOJ Lawyer Convenes ‘Citizens Grand Jury’ to Indict U.S. Officials

In a recent column published on the far-right RenewAmerica blog — one of several online publications to which he contributes — Larry Klayman denounced “Muslim-in-Chief, Barack Hussein Obama, and his leftist Jewish government comrades and partners in crime.”

Soon after that, Klayman, a Jewish convert to Christianity who says his heart “throb[s] in shame” over the crimes of the “felonious” liberal Jews who have committed “the moral equivalent of ethical and religious bankruptcy” by aligning themselves with the Obama administration, convened a “citizens grand jury” to indict President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, and other officials for supposed misdeeds against the American people.

Klayman should know better. A former prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice, he once worked on cases whose outcomes actually mattered. Today, though, he’s best known for filing lawsuits against the likes of Fidel Castro, Osama bin Laden, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton and Facebook’s
Mark Zuckerberg.

Ridiculous lawsuits are nothing new for Klayman. As the head of Judicial Watch, an ardently self-righteous and ultraconservative nonprofit organization, he sued the Clinton administration more than a dozen times, complaining among other things that special prosecutor Kenneth Starr wasn’t aggressive enough in pursuing the administration.

Convening so-called citizens grand juries is a newer hobby for Klayman, one he’s taken to with gusto. In 2011, after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” he declared his intention to get citizens to “indict” Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan for supposedly violating their oaths of office. In a typically self-aggrandizing press release, he said his power to convene this body stemmed from the Fifth Amendment, which, according to him, was designed to “hold corrupt judges and politicians accountable under criminal laws, thereby hoping to avoid another revolution as occurred in 1776.”

Elsewhere, using language and logic taken right out of the antigovernment “sovereign citizens” movement, Klayman has contended that citizens grand juries are a “common law” right that predates the Magna Carta. These days, as the former DOJ official knows all too well, real grand juries are convened only by prosecutors officially empowered to do so. Members of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement who believe themselves exempt from the confines of established legal procedure frequently use pseudo-legal “common-law courts” to indict “enemies” and adjudicate cases
 among themselves.

Klayman’s May indictments accuse the president and other officials of involuntary manslaughter related to a deadly attack on Navy SEALs that followed the identification of SEAL Team 6 as the unit that killed Osama bin Laden, and of endangering national security by telling reporters about U.S. capacity to carry out Internet attacks. They additionally target IRS officials for allegedly singling out conservative groups for extra scrutiny, and Roberts for not somehow forcing Kagan to recuse herself from certain Supreme Court deliberations.

Klayman’s is not the first bogus “citizens grand jury” to indict the president. In 2010, Pastor James David Manning of Harlem’s ATLAH World Ministries Church organized an entire “trial” after members of an organization called American Grand Jury “indicted” Obama for supposedly conspiring with Columbia University, the president’s alma mater, to conceal the “fact” that the president is not a natural born citizen and is therefore ineligible for office.