Prosecutors dismiss an invasion of privacy charge against Missouri governor Eric Greitens
15 May, 2018, 23:19
The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office has made a decision to dismiss and re-file a felony invasion of privacy charge against Gov. Eric Greitens, citing the Republican governor's "scorched-earth legal and media strategy".
What we still don't know is how strong their case was to begin with.
The documents were separate email strings: one between Michael Hafner, a paid advisor to Greitens, and Danny Laub, former campaign manager for Greitens; and the other between William Scharf, policy director for the governor's office, and Hafner. A special legislative session that could lead to the governor's impeachment is set to start on Friday.
Greitens is also facing another felony charge related to allegations that he illegally obtained the donor list from a veterans' charity he founded and used it to raise money for his 2016 campaign.
"The real reason why this case was dismissed was there was no evidence", said defense attorney Jim Bennett.
Greitens has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has refused to resign. They dropped the charge Monday.
"This is a great victory, and it has been a long time coming".
He added, "This experience has also been humbling, and I've emerged from it a changed man".
"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.
Without a photo the charge could be hard to prove, and Anders Walker, a law professor at St. Louis University, told the New York Times that he doubts prosecutors would bring a similar charge.
"A defendant who wishes to call a prosecutor as a witness must demonstrate a compelling and legitimate reason to do so", Ryan said.
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'The court's order leaves the circuit attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial, ' read a statement from Gardner's office. 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.
On February 22, 2018, a Grand Jury indicted Governor Greitens on Felony Invasion of Privacy. If convicted, Greitens could have faced up to four years in prison. It is not known whether the phone examined is the same one Greitens was using during the time the photo allegedly was taken.
"The case was going nowhere".
Regardless of whether a different prosecutor pursues the invasion of privacy charge, Greitens is far from out of the woods.
Defense attorneys have cited a litany of concerns about Gardner's handling of the case.
An investigation by a bipartisan state legislative committee controlled by Greitens's Republican Party found the woman credible, and released a report claiming Greitens had 'coerced, ' threatened and struck the woman. A video of the interview belatedly provided to defense lawyers appears to show Tisaby taking notes.
When a public official admits to an extramarital affair, word spreads quickly, and so do negative opinions.
The woman, who has been identified only as K.S.in court filings, has testified that Greitens bound her hands to exercise equipment in March 2015 in the basement of his St. Louis home, blindfolded her and removed her clothes before she saw a flash and heard what sounded like the click of a cellphone camera. She has said Greitens threatened to disseminate the photo if she spoke of their encounter but later told her he had deleted it.
But Hanaway said she believes a subpoena issued to A New Missouri - a secretive committee that supports Greitens' agenda - is "beyond the scope of the investigation" by the House.