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Greitens’ attorneys denounce Gardner’s handling of case

St. Louis Circuit attorney Kim Gardner has dropped the felony invasion of privacy case against Gov. Eric Greitens, according to a statement released today by her office.gardner-kim

The announcement came late Monday afternoon after Circuit Judge Rex Burlison granted a request by Greiten’s legal team to list Gardner as a witness for the defense in Greitens’ trial, for which jury selection has been underway since Thursday. The trial itself was expected to begin Wednesday.

“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,” Gardner’s statement said.

Greitens faced a felony charge of invasion of privacy stemming from an extramarital affair three years ago, during which he had been accused of photographing a woman while she was blindfolded and undressed to ensure her silence. Greitens has acknowledged the affair but repeatedly denied the allegations that prompted the criminal charge.

FILE - In this April 11, 2018 file photo, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks at a news conference in Jefferson City, Mo., about allegations related to an extramarital affair with his hairdresser. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said Tuesday, April 17, 2018, he believes there's enough evidence to bring a criminal charge and pursue impeachment of Gov. Eric Greitens for allegedly using a charity donor list for political purposes. (J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks at a news conference in Jefferson City, Mo., about allegations related to an extramarital affair with his hairdresser. (J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)

In her statement, Gardner said the case against Greitens will be refiled, but it remains unclear who will prosecute it. She has not determined whether she will pursue a special prosecutor or appoint one of her assistants to act in her stead, according to the statement.

In a late-afternoon news conference on the steps of the Carnahan Courthouse downtown, Greitens spoke briefly, saying he regretted the pain the case had caused to his family and friends. He declined to answer questions from reporters, saying he planned to leave to join his family and friends.

“It’s been humbling, and I’ve emerged from it a changed man,” he said.

His attorneys, however, were much more outspoken, both in their criticism of Gardner’s conduct during the case and their assertion that the case should not be refiled. They said they were confident that the trial would have ended in an acquittal for Greitens had it proceeded.

“Everybody knows why this case was dismissed…there was no evidence of a crime,” said James Bennett, one of Greitens’ attorneys.

Jim Martin

Jim Martin

Defense lawyer Jim Martin also rejected Gardner’s statement that she had “no adequate means of proceeding with this trial.”

“She could’ve taken the stand and answered our questions,” said Martin, adding that a forensic examiner had analyzed Greitens’ cell phone and concluded that no photo taken on March 21, 2015 – the date on which Greitens was alleged to have taken the photograph – had been deleted from it. That phone is the same phone Greitens had in 2015, and it contained photographs taken prior to the alleged incident, according to another defense attorney, Edward Dowd.

Asked whether that meant that Greitens never took a photo of K.S. on the date in question, Martin said, “We certainly think that would’ve been the evidence at trial.”

Professor John Amman of St. Louis University School of Law agreed that Gardner’s hand was not forced into dropping the charge.

“She could have been a witness in the case, not sat at the counsel table, recused herself and allowed the other attorneys in her office to proceed,” Amman said. He said that she could not appoint someone from her office to refile the case but would be required to appoint a special prosecutor or someone from outside her office.

scott-rosenblum-crimal-defense-attorney-3

Scott Rosenblum

Defense attorney Scott Rosenblum said anything the Circuit Attorney’s office or its investigators touched should be dropped.

“There was no evidence of a photo, no evidence of deletion but it always fell on deaf ears in the Circuit Attorney’s office,” said Rosenblum. “The narrative was never going to change.”

Both attorneys also denounced Gardner for what Bennett called her “irresponsible attack” on Burlison in her statement.

Rosenblum also said the issue of Gardner’s staff facing sanctions for its conduct during the case “is still on the table.”

“For them to suggest they were on the side of justice…it’s frightening,” he said.

Greitens’ defense team also took issue with Gardner’s statement that she planned to refile the case.

“If you’ve got a fair-minded person looking at this…we feel very good about where we stand…this was going to be a full-out acquittal,” Bennett said.

It remains unclear what, if any impact the case’s dismissal will have on the planned special session of the Missouri Legislature, slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Rosenblum, however, predicted that the House, upon seeing the evidence amassed in the criminal case, would conclude that Greitens committed no crime.

Republican leaders in the Missouri House released the following statement:

The legislature is a separate and a co-equal branch of government with a separate responsibility entrusted to it by our Constitution.  We owe it to Missourians to have a fair and thorough investigation of the facts.  To date the committee’s work has not only provided two reports on the facts to the General Assembly but, more importantly, it has also exposed additional concerns relating to the governor’s conduct.  This is why we remain committed to that process and await any recommendations it has for the House.  Without the pending trial this week, it allows the Governor to take advantage of our open offer to share his side of the facts.

Greitens also faces a separate trial on a charge of computer-data-tampering in St. Louis Circuit Court related to the alleged misappropriation of a list of contributors to The Mission Continues, a charity he formed. A trial date has not been set in that case.

Read Gardner’s full statement below:

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.

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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