The St. Louis Circuit Attorney has issued a sharp criticism of a court motion filed by Republican Governor Eric Greitens’ defense team in his criminal case.
In a statement, spokesperson Susan Ryan said the defense is, “working hard to try this case in the media by attacking the credibility of the victim and the investigation.”
The defense released information Sunday stating that Greitens’ mistress testified Friday that she hadn’t spoken about a phone that’s central to the case because she may have remembered it through a “dream”.
Greitens is alleged to have photographed the woman, presumably with a phone, in a state of undress, and then threatened to distribute the photo if she mentioned his name.
Ryan told Missourinet that the defense team has cherry-picked bits and pieces of the victim’s nine-hour deposition from Friday to attack her credibility in public.
“This has been a defense team tactic from day one, is to try to use the media to get their messages out,” said Ryan. “And we look forward to the day in court.”
St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Rex Burlison has sealed all discovery in the case from public disclosure. But attorneys are allowed to circumvent this restriction by filing motions and distributing information obtained through discovery in public. Greitens’ lobbyist, Aaron Baker, sent out copies of the defense motion to the media late Sunday night.
Ryan says the newly released court document of testimony by the woman Greitens was involved with contains nothing substantially new. Ryan told Missourinet the governor has applied a double standard by expressing concern over pre-trial publicity.
“For the governor to complain about the volume of pre-trial publicity at the same time that he hired a public relations firm to generate pre-trial publicity is certainly contradictory,” Ryan said.
A member of Greitens’ defense team, attorney Ed Dowd, complained to the chairman of a House committee that’s also investigating the charges that the panel’s plan to release a report this week will impact the ability for a fair trial to take place.
Greitens hired the public relations firm Clout in February as a consultant as he battles a felony invasion of privacy charge. Clout is a division of Axiom Strategies, which is owned by Jeff Roe, a Republican political consultant, and strategist.
Roe, who is headquartered in Kansas City, was the senior strategist and campaign manager for Texas Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential bid.
Ironically, Greitens took a tough stand against lobbyists early on as Missouri’s head of state. In his first act as governor, he signed an executive order prohibiting employees in his office from soliciting and accepting any gifts from lobbyists. He said the act, “slammed shut the revolving door between my office and lobbyists.”
Ryan with the circuit attorney’s office thinks Greitens’ public relations firm and lobbyist are playing political games by sending out press releases and court documents to the media. She says the last court motion sent out late Sunday night was an effort to deflect public attention from other matters facing the governor.
In addition to the House committee probe, Greitens was investigated by Attorney General Josh Hawley for his office’s use of the Confide app which erases text messages once they’ve been read. Hawley’s office found no wrongdoing with Greitens staffers’ use of the mobile software. Greitens also faces a lawsuit from two eastern Missouri attorneys who contend that utilizing the app represents a violation open records and records retention laws.
Greitens is further being examined by the state Ethics Commission for misuse of a donor list from his former non-profit, the Mission Continues, for campaign purposes. Hawley is also probing the matter.
In her news release for the circuit attorney’s office, Ryan said the latest court motion which dwells on the whereabouts of a videotape is another example of the defense team dredging up aspects of the case that aren’t fundamentally new.
In the motion, the defense says it’s asking for any information pertaining to the video, which is an interview conducted by the prosecution’s hired private investigator. Ryan says it’s been known through earlier testimony that the video camera used for the interview had malfunctioned.
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