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Probe involving St. Louis prosecutor’s office costs $400,000

Taxpayers have been billed nearly $400,000 by the special prosecutor in a perjury investigation involving the St. Louis prosecutor’s office, and nearly half of that amount was used in court fights.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch obtained records showing that a judge has approved the $395,000 legal bill from Special Prosecutor Gerard Carmody’s law firm for work on the grand jury investigation of William Tisaby.

Tisaby was hired by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to investigate former Gov. Eric Greitens. Tisaby, a 66-year-old former FBI agent, was indicted in June , accused of lying during a deposition.

The former Republican governor was charged last year with felony invasion of privacy, accused of taking a compromising and unauthorized photo of a woman during a 2015 extramarital affair in St. Louis. The charge was eventually dropped but Greitens resigned in June 2018.

A June 7 invoice from Carmody’s law firm says the firm’s lawyers spent 42 percent of their work on the case responding to nine appeals from Gardner’s lawyers over the disclosure of evidence, two lawsuits Gardner filed, and legal challenges to quash a search warrant for emails on the Circuit Attorney’s Office’s server.

The invoice said the remainder of Carmody’s time is “attributable to the (Tisaby) investigation, including witness interviews, review of documents and grand jury presentations associated with the possible criminal activity in connection with” the Greitens case.

Carmody declined comment.

t. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, right, and Ronald Sullivan, a Harvard law professor, arrive at the Civil Courts building for the third day of jury selection in Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' invasion of privacy trial, Monday, May 14, 2018, in St. Louis. Prosecutors on Monday abruptly dropped the invasion-of-privacy charge against Greitens but said they still hope to pursue a case against him for allegedly taking a revealing photo of a woman with whom he has acknowledged having an affair. The surprise move came after the judge had granted a request by Greitens' lawyers to call Gardner as a witness for the defense. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Gardner’s office issued a statement calling the case against Tisaby weak and noting that “taxpayers are unfortunately left with (a) bill for an overzealous investigation for an alleged crime against someone whose misstatements were immaterial to a case.”

Legal costs involving Gardner’s office may rise further. The grand jury that indicted Tisaby disbanded in June but the investigation is ongoing. The indictment of Tisaby said Gardner failed to correct Tisaby’s lies under oath during a March 2018 deposition, and that she made incorrect statements to defense lawyers and a judge.

Tisaby’s lawyer has strongly denied allegations against him. Gardner and her supporters, who include leading black clergy and activists, have called the investigation a political witch hunt meant to destroy the city’s first elected black female circuit attorney.

In a separate investigation, retired Boone County Associate Circuit Judge Mike Bradley was tasked last month with reviewing evidence in Gardner’s 2018 complaints to police that Greitens’ defense lawyers threatened to ruin her political career if she refused to drop charges against the former governor.

Gardner had requested a different special prosecutor, retired Buchanan County Prosecutor Dwight Scroggins.

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