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The indictment and arrest of the Broward County Public Schools superintendent and the School Board’s attorney Wednesday will be the only shoes to drop from the statewide grand jury’s investigation, because its term is over.
So beyond a perjury charge for Robert Runcie, a charge of leaking grand jury information for Barbara Myrick, and multiple charges against former chief information officer for the school district, Anthony Hunter, there will be no more indictments.
The School Board announced it will discuss the fates of Runcie and Myrick during its already scheduled workshop meeting on Tuesday.
After a decade in charge, the indictment has left Runcie’s future at the district in jeopardy.
“What I’m focused on is just having Board discussion in the public to address this issue,” said Board Chair Dr. Rosalind Osgood.
Osgood says Board members will talk about, and possibly vote on, what to do about the superintendent and the Board’s attorney.
“It is a collective consensus of the board, so in that workshop we will have a discussion and that discussion will allow the public to be a part of that discussion and then we will move forward from that discussion with the next steps,” Osgood explained.
According to his contract, the Board could fire Runcie, he could resign, they could come to a separation agreement, or he could continue to serve under indictment.
Supt. Robert Runcie’s arrest began with a statewide grand jury that was first looking into school safety and how money meant to protect schools was being spent. But in Broward County, it’s led to charges of bid tampering, payoffs and now lying or leaking from the school district’s chief executive and chief lawyer. NBC 6’s Tony Pipitone reports
Runcie’s legal team issued a statement Wednesday, saying in part that he plans to plead not guilty to the felony perjury charges and that Runcie has fully cooperated throughout the statewide grand jury process. His team says they still don’t know what he’s accused of lying about to the grand jury.
“I’ve had people arrested, taken to jail, not knowing what they were arrested for,” said Russell Williams, a veteran defense attorney.
Williams offers perspective but he is not involved with this case. He points out the secretive grand jury process is designed with only the prosecution side presented to the jurors.
“It’s kinda sorta like when you elect a pope, you know there’s a vote going on and all of a sudden you see the smoke coming out and you know there’s an indictment, or a pope,” Williams said. “In law school, we were always told, and it still holds true, that you can indict a ham sandwich so it’s very one-sided, the standard of proof is not like what we have at trial which is beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt.”
Williams says it’s difficult to prove perjury because a prosecutor has to show the person had an intent to lie. As a Parkland parent with a child who is a senior at Stoneman Douglas High School, he said after a year of pandemic challenges, he thinks most families in Parkland are not focused at all on the grand jury investigation.
Dr. Osgood said she has not spoken to Runcie or to Myrick, but says each of them has the right to be at the meeting on Tuesday, so they just might attend.