GREAT WHITE Called Before Rhode Island Grand Jury

February 25, 2003

The surviving members of GREAT WHITE have been subpoenaed to appear for questioning before a Rhode Island grand jury, according to CNN. Criminal charges may be filed in connection with the band's pyrotechnic fire disaster that killed 97 people, including guitarist Ty Longley, during a performance last Thursday at the Station club in West Warwick, Rhode Island.

The existence of the grand jury was first revealed Monday night by Ed McPherson, an attorney for the band.

He said the musicians had been subpoenaed to begin testifying Wednesday, but he indicated that he was seeking to delay the appearances because the band members are still too distraught over the tragedy.

McPherson promised that band members would cooperate with the investigation of the blaze, which also injured 180 people.

"We don't want to point fingers, but I think it's very important to assist the investigators in this case, to assist the attorney general and everyone else investigating this case, to be candid, to be truthful," he said.

McPherson and the band's lead singer, Jack Russell, have said that the owners of The Station nightclub — Jeffrey and Michael Derderian — gave them permission to use pyrotechnics during the show.

"The permission absolutely, unequivocally, was asked. It was asked by the tour manager for the band, whose name is Dan Beekley, who routinely did the advance work for each of the venues in which GREAT WHITE played," McPherson said.

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