Investigated For Tampering, Rape Suspect’s Wife Hired As Magistrate

Jan 8, 2014

Seattle Municipal Court, where Jennifer Grant, the wife of an accused rapist, works as a magistrate. Grant had been investigated for tampering with her husband's investigation.
Seattle Municipal Court, where Jennifer Grant, the wife of an accused rapist, works as a magistrate. Grant had been investigated for tampering with her husband's investigation.
Credit City of Seattle Photo

A recently released report commissioned by the Seattle City Attorney’s office has found that one of its supervising prosecutors may have violated criminal law and professional rules for attorneys.

Three months after resigning, that prosecutor, Jennifer Grant, got a temporary job with Seattle Municipal Court as a magistrate.

The report was commissioned in 2012 after Jennifer Grant’s husband, Danford Grant, was arrested on suspicion of raping four women, attempting to rape a fifth and burglary. After a preliminary court hearing, according to the report, Jennifer Grant moved her husband’s car from Greenwood, the neighborhood where he was arrested after allegedly attempting to rape a masseuse.

The report said that moving the car could result in bar complaints and criminal charges of evidence tampering. The city attorney’s office says a summary of the investigation was part of Jennifer Grant’s personnel file, which the municipal court requested when it hired her but never received.

Municipal court is where criminal charges filed by the city attorney are heard. Jennifer Grant and her colleagues argued cases there – although not the traffic and parking mitigation cases Grant now hears, according to the court.

The city’s hired investigators allowed that Jennifer Grant was under considerable stress when she moved her husband’s car, and said that could be a mitigating factor for anyone considering her actions.

Richard Hansen, Danford Grant’s defense attorney, said by email, “Jennifer Grant is being criticized very unfairly for what she did under the circumstances.”

Hansen also expressed skepticism about police interest in the car because it remained parked at the scene of his arrest for two days before she moved it. But investigators say police sought Grant’s help for weeks so they could search the car, and that they didn’t get it despite having a warrant.

The city’s commissioned report refers to the unanimous support from Grant’s colleagues after her husband’s arrest. Sources close to the investigation call her reputation “otherwise flawless.” But investigators said that despite support from those who know her, the public could take a dimmer view of her actions and could believe they reflected negatively on the city attorney’s office. Grant resigned a week after the report was filed.

Danford Grant has pleaded not guilty to rape and burglary. He is on house arrest pending trial scheduled for May.

The King County prosecutor’s spokesman said their office would not charge Jennifer Grant for now. The Washington State Bar Association does not release information about complaints unless they are sustained.

The city attorney’s hired investigators interviewed 18 people and charged $106,060 for their inquiry and analysis.