Prosecutors Drop Greitens Charge, Seek Special Prosecutor

Lester Mason
May 15, 2018

Prosecutors dropped a bombshell this afternoon after three days of jury selection in the invasion of privacy case against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, dismissing charges just days before it was set to go to trial.

After the defense called Gardner as a witness, she couldn't continue, and issued a furious statement decrying the governor's "scorched-earth legal and media strategy" and attacks on "the intentions, character and integrity of every person involved in investigating the Governor's behavior". Among other things, they accused Tisaby, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, of lying when he said he did not take notes when he and Gardner on January 29 interviewed the woman involved in the affair.

A spokeswoman for Gardner said "we have about a month" when asked about the statute of limitations. Prosecutors say they now intend to hire a special prosecutor. "The court's order leaves the Circuit Attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial".

"When the court and the defense team put the state in the impossible position of choosing between her professional obligations and the pursuit of justice, the Circuit Attorney will always choose the pursuit of justice", Gardner's office said.

The defense team has accused Ms. Gardner of misconduct in the case, citing her hiring of a private investigator.

Greitens is accused of taking an unauthorized and compromising photo of a woman with whom he had an affair. Rosenblum, however, predicted that the House, upon seeing the evidence amassed in the criminal case, would conclude that Greitens committed no crime.

More than half of the prospective jurors are being dismissed, either because of time constraints or potential biases.

"Everybody knows why this case was dismissed...there was no evidence of a crime", said James Bennett, one of Greitens' attorneys. But his attorneys have been trying to exclude those who may have difficulty setting aside their opinions.

Greitens, who has long denied any criminal wrongdoing, emerged from the courthouse declaring vindication.

"The House's investigation and the Circuit Attorney's case are two separate paths", said Sens. The committee chairman, Rep. Jay Barnes, announced to the public and the press that Greitens' campaign attorney had not fully complied with legislative subpoenas.

Greitens faces separate felony charge for computer tampering, which was was brought by Gardner after Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley referred evidence to her office.

The committee released a second report May 2 with testimony about how Greitens' gubernatorial campaign had used a donor list from The Mission Continues without the permission of the St. Louis-based veterans' charity he founded.

A special House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens says it has received some but not all of the documents it requested from the governor's political committees. If the House votes to impeach Greitens, the Senate would appoint a panel of seven judges to conduct a trial on whether to remove him from office. The report included testimony from a former Greitens aide indicating the campaign also falsely identified the source of the donor list in a settlement with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

"There was no evidence of a photo, no evidence of deletion but it always fell on deaf ears in the Circuit Attorney's office", said Rosenblum. That phone is the same phone Greitens had in 2015, and it contained photographs taken prior to the alleged incident, according to another defense attorney, Edward Dowd. Prosecutors have acknowledged that they did not have the photo but left open the possibility that they would obtain it.

Gardner said the judge's decision put her in an "impossible position" in which she would be "subject to cross-examination" by members of her own office. Martin said prosecutors said they had stopped pursuing a photo. The announcement was made just before 5 p.m. after prosecutors and defense attorneys met in the chambers of Judge Rex Burlison. The trial itself was expected to begin Wednesday. Instead, attorneys who began screening 160 prospective jurors last week are to continuing doing so Monday.

The governor had been accused of invasion of privacy for taking a nude picture of the woman with whom he'd been having an affair. He declined to answer questions from reporters, saying he planned to leave to join his family and friends.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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