The hits keep coming for new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. Cleveland’s NewsChannel5 is reporting that a federal grand jury is hearing testimony from witnesses connected to the alleged rebate fraud. Spokesmen for both the US Attorney’s Office and Pilot Flying J declined to comment. For those us who are legally challenged, what does this mean, exactly? From the Federal Judicial Center:
A criminal case formally begins with an indictment or information, which is a formal accusation that a person committed a crime. An indictment may be obtained when a lawyer for the executive branch of the U.S. government–the U.S. attorney or an assistant U.S. attorney, also referred to as the prosecutor–presents evidence to a federal grand jury that, according to the government, indicates a person committed a crime. The U.S. attorney tries to convince the grand jury that there is enough evidence to show that the person probably committed the crime and should be formally accused of it. If the grand jury agrees, it issues an indictment. After the indictment is issued, the accused person (the defendant) is either summoned to court or arrested (if not already under arrest), depending on the severity of the crime.
A grand jury is different from a trial jury, or petit jury. A grand jury determines whether the person may be tried for a crime; a petit jury listens to the evidence presented at the trial and determines whether the defendant is guilty of the charge. Petit is the French word for “small”; petit juries usually consist of twelve jurors in criminal cases. Grand is the French word for “large”; grand juries have from sixteen to twenty-three jurors.
I’m sure it’ll be fine…
This is just more bad news for Haslam. Five former Pilot Flying J executives have pleaded guilty and are working with federal investigators. The Wall Street Journal has reported that Pilot Flying J is roughly 4 billion dollars in debt and rumors continued to swirl that, due to financial issues and the ongoing investigation, Haslam might have to sell the Browns (he has explicitly denied that the Browns are for sale).
Browns’ training camp begins on Wednesday, July 25th. I imagine Mr. Haslam can’t wait until the Browns start making some news on the field.
[Related: Browns to officially enter the 21st century with in-game upgrades]