An expert was examining a cell phone of Governor Eric Greitens Tuesday in the same courthouse where he’ll go on trial Thursday for felony invasion of privacy.
The examiner was reported by numerous media outlets to be analyzing the phone in a locked courtroom. The inspection came days after Greitens’ defense team filed a request to do away with a search warrant for Greitens Gmail account.
The Defense motion notes an investigator for the prosecutor’s office, Anthony Box, cited an “uptick in activity” in the email account after an investigation of Greitens was announced, with most of that activity coming from the law firm representing Greitens, Dowd Bennett.
It also states Box asserted that efforts may have been to delete the photo in question. The defense called the accusation absurd.
Greitens is accused of taking and transmitting a compromising cell phone photo without consent of a woman with whom he was having an affair. The alleged victim also says Greitens threatened to blackmail her with the image if she spoke of their relationship.
The prosecution admitted in court Monday they don’t have the photo in question. Any evidence gathered from Tuesday’s examination will be turned over to a “special master” appointed last month to look over data from the cell phones of Greitens or the woman.
Greitens felony trial in the case begins Monday in St. Louis Circuit Court under presiding Judge Rex Burlison.
Meanwhile, a witness in another investigation into the governor spoke with two St. Louis TV stations yesterday.
A special Missouri House committee is looking into allegations that Greitens illegally obtained and transferred a donor list from his former charity, “The Mission Continues” for campaign purposes.
Those accusations have led to a felony computer tampering charge in the same court.
Political consultant Michael Hafner testified before the House committee and is mentioned numerous time in the committee’s most recent report on the accusations.
Hafner began advising Greitens on political activity in early 2014 and began working for pay in January 2015, shortly before Greitens became a candidate for governor. Hafner testified before the committee that he received a copy of the donor list at Greitens’ direction on January 7, 2015.
According to the House committee report, Hafner testified that the Greitens campaign used the donor list for fundraising purposes.
The report says he stated there were two fundraising meetings in January, and during at least in one of those meetings they looked over the list. It says Greitens gave Hafner notes on specific donors and quotes Hafner as saying, “of course, donors were selected based on their ability to give which is denoted in the list of their lifetime giving history to The Mission Continues.”
The report says Hafner, who was an experienced campaign professional, testified that it was the first time he had ever used a charity’s donor list in the course of a political campaign.
In an interview with KMOV-TV released Tuesday by the station, Hafner said “I had no idea this list was acquired using anything but lawful means.”
KMOV reports Hafner as saying that when Greitens asked him to meet with a person affiliated with the charity, he was hesitant and never took the meeting.
“Certainly, when you are meeting with employees of a charity and using that for political purposes that’s a road I was not comfortable going down and that’s why I never set the meeting or reached out to her,” Hafner told KMOV.
Geitens settled a Missouri Ethics Commission complaint by a Democratic operative last year by categorizing the charity list as an in-kind donation valued at $600 provided on March 1, 2015.
In an interview released by KTVI-TV Tuesday, Hafner characterized the value of the list much differently.
“It included contact information to high wealth individuals,” Hafner told KTVI. “High network individuals, companies, billion-dollar foundations. It had contacts of former United States Presidents on the list. So, in my experience, a list like that would be worth well in excess of $600.”
A trial date for Greitens’ second felony case has not been set. He’s denied any criminal wrongdoing.
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