A Cole County circuit judge heard about 45 minutes of arguments on Friday afternoon in Jefferson City on U.S. Senator Josh Hawley’s (R) motion to quash an attorney’s subpoena for a deposition.
Quash is a legal term, which means to reject. The subpoena involves possible violations of Missouri’s Sunshine Law, when Hawley was attorney general.
Cole County Judge Patricia Joyce did not rule on Friday, nor did she provide a time frame. Both sides tell Missourinet they’re optimistic about how the judge will rule.
Hawley’s legal team calls the case “frivolous.” Hawley’s lawyer, Brian Barnes, spoke to Capitol reporters Friday outside the Cole County Courthouse, after the hearing ended. He reiterates what he told Judge Joyce: that this is a dispute over whether a $3,600 fee is appropriate to review 13,000 documents.
“I can just tell you (reporters) as somebody who’s been involved in litigation that involves a lot of documents, that’s ($3,600) not an unreasonable fee,” Barnes says.
But attorney Elad Gross, who plans to run for Missouri attorney general in 2020, wants Judge Joyce to reject Hawley’s motion. Gross tells reporters the Governor’s office charged him $3,600 for the documents.
“No one has offered to provide me those records. At this point, we’ve all done a lot of work for it. I’m not sure what they’re still hiding, but apparently it’s worth more to them than $3,600,” says Gross.
Gross also says Hawley has five attorneys.
Barnes says there’s no evidence that Hawley violated the Sunshine law. Barnes also says this is an inconvenience to Hawley, who’s been elected to the Senate to represent Missourians in Washington.
“Senator Hawley was sent by the people of Missouri to Washington to do a job, and having to deal with frivolous lawsuits like this is a distraction from him being able to do that job,” Barnes tells reporters.
Barnes tells reporters that Mr. Gross is making “baseless accusations” to further his political career. Gross responds by saying that Senator Hawley has information and is a witness in this case.
Gross also says the Missouri attorney general’s office is “broken.”
Gross also disagrees with the issue of inconvenience, saying he’s willing to accommodate the senator’s schedule.
“It shouldn’t be an inconvenience for a sitting United States Senator to sit for a deposition and provide testimony and provide evidence in a case where he has information. He serves the public,” Gross says.
Hawley’s spokeswoman, Kelli Ford has issued a statement to Missourinet about the lawsuit, which notes Mr. Hawley is not a party to the lawsuit.
“This is a political stunt by a political candidate. It’s unfortunate that Democrat operatives continue to misuse our courts of law for political purposes. It’s a frivolous request. He isn’t party to the lawsuit,” the statement reads.
The case is titled “Elad Gross versus Michael Parson et al.” Et al is a legal term which essentially means “and others.”
Hawley was not in the courtroom on Friday. Attorney Lowell Pearson also represented Hawley in court on Friday.
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) issued a report in late February, clearing Hawley of allegations that he used public funds to support his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
Click here to listen to the full press briefings outside the Cole County Courthouse on March 15, 2019. Attorneys Brian Barnes and Elad Gross briefed Capitol reporters, including Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth, separately: