ST. LOUIS (AP) – A St. Louis judge is expected to rule Thursday on whether to dismiss a felony criminal indictment against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens due to mistakes by the prosecutor and a private investigator she hired.
Circuit Judge Rex Burlison has said he will announce his ruling in a morning court session.
Greitens was indicted in February on one count of invasion of privacy. He is accused of taking a nonconsensual photo of a partially nude woman with whom he had an extramarital affair in 2015, before he was elected. Greitens has admitted to the affair with his St. Louis hairdresser but denied criminal wrongdoing and has called St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner a “reckless liberal prosecutor.”
His trial is scheduled for May 14. But the governor’s attorneys asked Burlison to dismiss the indictment as a sanction against the circuit attorney’s office for its mishandling of the case.
The indictment is among many worries for the Republican governor. Several lawmakers, including Republicans, have called for his resignation since a special legislative committee’s report last week cited allegations of unwanted sexual aggression against the woman. Greitens said the relationship was “entirely consensual.”
Meanwhile, Attorney General Josh Hawley, also a Republican, said Tuesday that an investigation by his office determined that Greitens committed another crime by using a donor list from the veterans’ charity he founded, The Mission Continues, to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign without the charity’s permission. Since the alleged crime happened in St. Louis it will be up to Gardner, a Democrat, to decide whether to file charges.
In the invasion of privacy case, attorneys for Greitens contend that investigator William Tisaby has repeatedly lied to the court. For example, he said he didn’t take notes during an interview of the woman, but photos and a video showed him taking notes. In another instance, Tisaby claimed he checked his laptop for notes during a deposition lunch break, but later said the laptop wasn’t even in St. Louis, defense attorneys said.
They also allege that Gardner knew about the lies, and that her office has frequently withheld evidence from the defense team.
Greitens‘ attorneys said in court last week that a videotaped deposition of the woman was withheld until after the legislative committee’s report was released. On Monday, attorney Jim Martin said 11 pages of Tisaby’s notes from a deposition of a friend of the woman, requested weeks ago, were not turned over until Sunday, after Martin threatened to go to court to ask for them.
Chief Trial Assistant Robert Dierker responded by comparing Tisaby to the incompetent fictional Inspector Clouseau from “The Pink Panther” movies, acknowledging that Tisaby has “caused us to appear to be hiding the ball.”
“We are saddled with the egregious mistake of relying on him,” Dierker said. But he said the mistakes are “not worthy of the ultimate sanction of dismissal.”
Tisaby has not returned phone and email messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
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