A judge has denied a request from Governor Eric Greitens defense team for a temporary restraining order to block Attorney General Josh Hawley from investigating the governor.
Greitens’s attorneys had argued Thursday that Hawley couldn’t conduct an impartial probe after he called for Greitens to resign and referred to allegations against the governor as “certainly impeachable”.
Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem said there’s no violation of the rules of professional conduct for a prosecutor as Greitens’ attorney Jim Bennett had argued.
The judge stated that the rule expressly applies only to criminal prosecutions and not to investigations which might reveal evidence of criminal conduct. He said there’s nothing to indicate the Attorney General is currently prosecuting a criminal case against Greitens.
Hawley’s has been investigating Greitens’ alleged misuse of a donor list from his former charity for campaign purposes. He’s already turned over evidence in that probe to the St. Louis Circuit Attorney, who’s brought felony “computer tampering” charges against Greitens.
Hawley’s public comments critical of Greitens referred to his alleged activity that resulted in a separate felony invasion of privacy charge. In that case, Greitens is accused of taking a photo of his ex-mistress in a partially nude state without her permission in 2015.
Greitens’ attorneys had also been seeking to have a special prosecutor investigate the governor in place of Hawley. That request is no longer relevant since Judge Beetenm’s ruling allows Hawley to continue his probe. Beetem’s decision also prevents Greitens from refiling the request in Cole County Circuit Court.
Read the Order-and-Judgment from Judge Beetum.