Criminal case aside, Missouri lawmakers still considering Greitens’ impeachment

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A judge rejected Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' request Thursday to dismiss a felony criminal indictment against him, but Missouri legislators say what happens in the court case won't immediately determine what the special legislative committee decides.

Judge Rex Burlison said the prosecution had been unfair to the defense, violating procedures regarding the sharing of evidence. The defense claims a private investigator used by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney lied under oath.

But Burlison said the case will proceed with sanctions and the defense will be able to depose witnesses again if they want.

Greitens faces trial for allegedly taking a compromising photo of a woman without her consent.

What happens regarding the court case has no bearing on what happens at the state capital where a special committee on oversight has been looking into whether or not Greitens' behavior rises to the level of impeachment.

“We have a process that is set up and put into place, and that process is for that committee to work through all of the things they are working through and come back to the General Assembly with recommendations,” Rep. Todd Richards said Thursday at the statehouse.

The Special Committee on Oversight has been looking into the allegations against Greitens for weeks now, and it is there job to recommend to the House of Representatives whether or not the governor should be impeached. The House would then vote on the matter.

There has been a resolution brought to the floor that would change the impeachment proceedings -- if it comes to that. Instead of a full House vote, the Special Committee would have full authority to make a decision about impeachment without input from other representatives.

“It seems to me that the committee that has been investigating the allegations surrounding Governor Greitens should be the same committee that is empowered unequivocally and clearly as far as our rules go to move forward,” committee member Rep. Gina Mitten said.

Mitten said, for now, the committee will continue to investigate under the terms of the resolution that put it into existence. But when asked whether or not the committee will have a recommendation before the end of this session, Mitten said, “I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t say what is possible of what is not possible in the realm of things.”

It adds to the controversy swirling around Greitens. With Jefferson City in crisis, Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard said he may take a step back and hold bills back so the governor can not sign off on them

“He can’t sign unless I sign,” Richard said. “So if the minority leader decides that is best for the Senate, we will just leave that for another day and I would defer to her with this.”

Richard said his goal is to keep the process moving, so he would sign a few up now that support Missouri taxpayers, but he said he has no problem holding most for a couple weeks or a month until the issues with the governor shake out.