Dori exclusive: Seattle lawyer once investigated in rapist husband’s case now a local judge

Jan 20, 2022, 2:30 PM | Updated: Jan 21, 2022, 8:51 am
Seattle lawyer...

The case is a conundrum – and Dori Monson Show listeners let us know it.

Ten years ago, after a series of violent knife-point rapes in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, Danford Grant – who worked for the Seattle City Attorney’s office, and was a founding partner in a local law firm – was captured and charged with five of these attacks.

Friends and colleagues who considered him a model husband, father, and Little League coach were shocked.

The second shockwave came when Danford Grant’s wife, then-attorney Jennifer Johnson Grant, was investigated for moving his SUV while investigators worked for more than 30 days to find the vehicle. Detectives and prosecutors alleged she stashed the vehicle for a month to hinder their investigation while hiding or removing evidence.

After the investigation was complete, Danford Grant – whose attacks involved Asian women working in massage parlors – was sentenced to 25 years in prison. By the time he was convicted in 2014, Jennifer Johnson Grant had filed official paperwork for marital separation, and she was forced to resign from her own position with the Seattle City Attorney’s office. It is not clear if they are divorced.

Now, a decade later, Jennifer Johnson Grant has been named the new presiding judge for the Lake Forest Park Municipal Court in north King County.

This appointment prompted local residents to ask The Dori Monson Show: “What is going on?”

“I was incredulous” that Jennifer Johnson Grant was appointed to the bench, Dori told listeners, “but I truly believe that there are layers to this story that should at least be considered.”

For starters, he found, Jennifer Johnson Grant was not charged with a crime.

Also, in our show’s research, during a phone call with Dori, Lake Forest Park Mayor Jeff Johnson said Jennifer Johnson Grant (the two are not related) said she was “very forthcoming” about the 2012 case before her recent appointment. Mayor Johnson also praised her legal work over the past decade, adding that Jennifer Johnson Grant’s character references were strong.

But Dori also spoke off-air with a prominent Seattle-area attorney who knew of the case. That source reminded Dori that hiding the vehicle for “one or two days while she was in absolute turmoil – knowing she might lose her husband and the father of her children for decades after he led a secret double-life” is one thing, the attorney explained. “But it was 30 days that the car was hidden from investigators.”

Show listeners who are disturbed by the level of violence inflicted on Asian women, and believe that the 2012 case prevents Jennifer Johnson Grant’s impartiality, sent Dori passionate text messages.

The Dori Monson Show invited Jennifer Johnson Grant to respond on the show. She sent this email:

Thank you for reaching out regarding your plan to discuss the challenges I experienced in 2012. I have nothing to add at this time and, as a judge, I am bound by the code of judicial conduct. I consulted an expert on judicial ethics who informed me it would be inappropriate to participate in an interview. I can assure you that the Washington State Bar Association performed a thorough and exhaustive investigation into allegations of misconduct. I participated fully and the case was dismissed.

I was forthcoming during the application process for this judgeship and, of course, information was publicly available. I was humbled to be appointed by Mayor Johnson and approved by City Council. I am proud to serve you and all citizens of Lake Forest Park. I hope this will not distract from the good work of the court and of the leadership in city hall.

This story lit up comments on The Dori Monson Show text line at 888-973-KIRO (5476).

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori exclusive: Seattle lawyer once investigated in rapist husband’s case now a local judge