Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem has ordered outgoing Governor Eric Greitens to provide information concerning his office’s use of the Confide app.
The order is in response to a request from St. Louis area attorney Mark Pedroli, who filed a lawsuit against Greitens in January on behalf of a fellow lawyer over use of the app that erases text messages by staffers in Greitens office.
Greitens is being ordered to identify anybody in his office, including himself, who used Confide and specify which phones were equipped with the app.
Judge Beetem said the issue needs further attention, given the time limitations of the end of the Governor’s term. He ordered the information emailed to Pedroli and his client, attorney Ben Sansone, by 1 p.m. Friday.
Beetem said the information would allow Pedroli to request documents from Confide regarding use of the app by Greitens and his staff.
He also said requesting the documents through Confide would avoid the serious constitutional concern that would be raised by ordering the confiscation of private personal devices.
Pedroli had sought to have those phones belonging to Greitens and his staff that had been installed with the app to be examined by a forensic expert, similar to a procedure conducted in a criminal case against Greitens in St. Louis.
Greitens was also ordered to preserve any evidence from outgoing staff members and to secure any phones in his office owned by the State.
The lawsuit suggests that use of phones equipped with Confide to conduct state business could be a violation of open records laws.