Monday, 25 June, 2018

Newspaper booted from press corps over publisher's $50k payment in Greitens case

Defense attorney Scott Rosenblum leaves the Civil Courts building in downtown St. Louis on May 10 the first day of jury selection in Governor Eric Greitens felony invasion of privacy trial Newspaper booted from press corps over publisher's $50k payment in Greitens case
Melinda Barton | 15 May, 2018, 21:20

"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", said the statement from Gardner's office. The lawyers for Mr. Greitens had accused Ms. Gardner of condoning misconduct and lying by an investigator on the case, and apparently meant to question her on those issues. An investigator that Gardner hired, William Tisaby, allegedly made false statements during a deposition about his interview with the woman at the center of this case.

In addition to the invasion of privacy charge, Greitens has been charged with felony computer data tampering over his alleged use of a donor list from the veterans' charity he founded, The Mission Continues, to raise money for his campaign without permission.

It's unclear what will happen with the computer tampering case, but Greitens' legal team said that it should also be turned over to a special prosecutor because of Gardner's "clear conflict" of interest.

Judge Rex Burlison asked prosecutor Sullivan if he had a response to the defense's contention, and he said he did not.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is seeking a special prosecutor to refile the charge.

If convicted, Greitens could face up to four years in prison.

After the vote, he said on Twitter: "Im disappointed not only in the result of the mainstream medias decision but even more by their decision to have a meeting without complying with the Sunshine Law".

Gardner and the law professor she brought on to assist in her case against Greitens have significant ties to left-wing politics and recently released text messages indicating Missouri Democrats may have encouraged the alleged victim to work with Gardner's office to help bring down Greitens. A special session of the House has been called and is scheduled to begin Friday evening to pursue possible sanctions including impeachment.

"Missouri revised statute 561.021 says that any office holder in the state of Missouri forfeits their office upon sentencing and conviction in a felony trial", said Calfano. "What we've seen in this case by the Circuit Attorney's Office, I can tell you, makes me fearful as to what's going on with other defendants that may not have the wherewithal to show what's going on", he said.

Greitens has said he is innocent of any criminal wrongdoing and called the relationship in question consensual.

The charges stem from an incident in which Greitens had an extramarital affair with a women and allegedly took partially nude photos of her while she was tied up, without her consent. They said they were confident that the trial would have ended in an acquittal for Greitens had it proceeded.

Prosecutors have acknowledged that they don't possess the picture at the heart of the case but were granted a warrant earlier this month to search the governor's personal email account.

Rep. Jay Barnes said the special committee is still working to secure all of the records that were requested in the aftermath of a May 2 report alleging that Greitens ran an off-the-books political campaign in 2014, took a private charity's donor list to raise campaign funds and lied about that list to the state's ethics commission. The allegations led to a special investigation by the Missouri legislature, which found the woman's testimony to be "disturbing".

Lieb reported from Jefferson City.

ABC 17 News will continue to update this story with more information as we gather it.