St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner (D) announced late Monday afternoon that she is dismissing the felony invasion of privacy case against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R). Gardner says she plans to refile the case.
Gardner issued her statement at 5:03 p.m. on Monday, after a third day of jury selection in the case.
Her statement indicates that her decision was based upon St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison’s “unprecedented decision” to allow Greitens’ defense team to call Gardner to the witness stand.
Gardner’s statement concludes by saying that the Circuit Attorney “will be making a decision to either pursue a special prosecutor or make an appointment of one of her assistants to proceed.”
Greitens has described Gardner, a former Democratic state lawmaker, as a “reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points.”
Greitens has admitted to an affair with his former hairdresser, but has denied any wrongdoing.
Greitens is still charged with tampering with computer data, involving the Mission Continues charity. He has denied wrongdoing in that case as well.
Missourinet St. Louis contributor Jill Enders has been in court in downtown St. Louis covering jury selection daily, and will have an updated story on Missourinet later.
Enders reports defense attorney Jim Martin, a former U.S. Attorney, said in court Monday that prosecutors claimed they had stopped looking for the photo. Enders reports Judge Burlison asked Ronald Sullivan, a Harvard professor hired by the prosecution, if he had a response. Sullivan said he did not.
Here is the full press release from St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner’s office:
Circuit Attorney’s Office
City of St. Louis
May 14, 2018
Since January, Governor Greitens and his defense team have taken a scorched-earth legal and media strategy and relentlessly attacked the intentions, character and integrity of every person involved in investigating the Governor’s behavior including Missouri House Committee members, the Attorney General, the Circuit Attorney and her team, his victim, her family and those who have called for his resignation.
On February 22, 2018, a Grand Jury indicted Governor Greitens on Felony Invasion of Privacy. The Circuit Attorney has done everything in her power to remain focused on the facts and the truth of this matter. The Circuit Attorney and her team are ready, willing and able to go to trial this week on behalf of the people of the state of Missouri and Mr. Greitens’ victim.
Last week, Governor Greitens made a motion to include the Circuit Attorney as a defense witness. A defendant who wishes to call a prosecutor as a witness must demonstrate a compelling and legitimate reason to do so. Governor Greitens has produced no compelling reason to include the Circuit Attorney as a witness for any purpose. The defense team knows that the tactic of endorsing the Circuit Attorney as a witness is part of their ongoing effort to distract people from the defendant’s actions that brought about both the felony Invasion of Privacy and Computer Tampering charges against him.
22nd Circuit Judge Rex Burlison made an unpreceded decision by granting a request by Governor Greitens’ defense team to endorse the Circuit Attorney as a witness for the defense. The court’s order places the Circuit Attorney in the impossible position of being a witness, subject to cross-examination within the offer of proof by her own subordinates.
While the court has other remedies, such as calling the private attorney of K.S. as a witness, it has chosen not to do so. 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. The court’s order leaves the Circuit Attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial. Therefore, the court has left the Circuit Attorney with no other legal option than to dismiss and refile this matter.
The Circuit Attorney and her team will research the best step forward for this case in light of the court’s ruling. The Circuit Attorney will be make a decision to either pursue a special prosecutor or make an appointment of one of her assistants to proceed.
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