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Staten Island DA says he legally cannot release grand jury materials in Eric Garner case


Staten Island DA Michael McMahon. (Barry Williams/for New York Daily News)

No can do.

Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon says he’s legally prohibited from releasing any evidence that led to a grand jury clearing ex-NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of chokehold victim Eric Garner.

“Renewed calls for the full release of grand jury materials relating to the investigation into the death of Eric Garner willfully ignore the fact that, even as District Attorney, I am legally barred from disclosing such information,” McMahon said in a statement on Tuesday — one day after NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill announced he had fired Pantaleo.

A Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo in December 2014, five months after the former cop put Garner in a fatal chokehold for allegedly selling loosies, or single untaxed cigarettes. The incident was captured on cellphone video exclusively obtained by the Daily News, with Garner crying out 11 times, “I can’t breathe."

But according to McMahon, New York law prohibits “the release of secret grand jury proceedings, except upon an order from a Supreme Court Justice," noting that Judge William E. Garnett denied a 2015 application to release grand jury minutes, which was upheld on appeal.

Since Garner’s death, “no new evidence has been produced" in the case, McMahon said, meaning that his office cannot re-present it to a grand jury. The district attorney added that he has never seen any of the materials that his predecessor, Dan Donovan, brought before the grand jury.

The U.S. Department of Justice cleared Pantaleo of any criminal charges last month, one day before the five-year anniversary of Garner’s death. Judge Rosemarie Maldonado, who presided over the disgraced cop’s departmental trial, recommended that the NYPD terminate his employment.