Missouri court to mull disciplining Gardner in Greitens case
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A review of the investigation that brought down former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens three years ago uncovered evidence that the prosecutor in charge concealed evidence that could have helped Greitens, the head of the office that oversees lawyers' professional conduct alleges.
Alan Pratzel, Missouri's chief disciplinary counsel, contends in a court document obtained by the St. Louis Posts-Dispatch that there is probable cause to believe that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner concealed details about the Greitens investigation from her subordinates regarding notes taken during interviews with witnesses and that she failed to disclose favorable evidence to Greitens' lawyers.
The disciplinary case was under seal until Tuesday, after Gardner's lawyers had a chance to respond to the allegations.
Gardner's lawyer, Michael Downey, said in a court filing that Gardner didn't hide her role in the investigation and that she produced all of the notes that were taken during witness interviews. He called the claims "another attempt by Ms. Gardner's political enemies — largely from outside St. Louis — to remove Ms. Gardner and thwart the systemic reforms she champions."
Gardner's office said in a statement that she complied with the law during the Greitens investigation.
"Despite several investigations attempting to uncover illegal wrongdoing by her office in this case, none has ever been found," it said. "We are confident that a full review of the facts will show that the Circuit Attorney has not violated the ethical standards of the State of Missouri."
The Missouri Supreme Court, which presides over Pratzel's office, decides disciplinary cases involving lawyers. No hearing date has been set. The court could decide to take no action or punish Gardner with a reprimand, suspension or revocation of her law license.
Greitens had been governor for a little over a year when he was indicted in February 2018 on a charge of felony invasion of privacy that accused him of taking a compromising photo of a woman during an extramarital affair and threatening to use it as blackmail if she spoke of the relationship.
Gardner abruptly dismissed the case during jury selection that May when she was faced with having to testify about her involvement in the investigation. Gardner, a Democrat, later brokered Greitens' resignation in exchange for dropping an unrelated felony computer tampering charge against the Republican governor.
In July 2018, members of Greitens' defense team filed an ethics complaint alleging that Gardner conspired with her private investigator, William Don Tisaby, to lie in sworn testimony about the investigation, and that she solicited false testimony from him. The complaint also alleged that Gardner failed to turn over evidence to Greitens' defense team.
Tisaby was later indicted on multiple counts of perjury and evidence tampering. His criminal case is still pending.
Greitens announced in March that he will seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2022.