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Judge issues partial gag rule in Missouri Gov. Greitens case

Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens takes part in an interview in his office inside the Capitol Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Jefferson City, Mo. Greitens discussed having an extramarital affair in 2015 before taking office. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — A judge has issued a partial gag order for attorneys and witnesses in the criminal case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison issued the order Tuesday in response to a request from Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. Gardner expressed concern that Greitens’ attorneys were trying the case in the media.

The Republican governor is charged with invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a compromising photo without the consent of a woman he was having an affair with in 2015, before he was elected.

Burlison’s order does not prohibit attorneys from speaking about public information in the case, but prohibits comments related to deposition material, opinions about what witnesses might testify to and other speculative issues. The ruling also will require the judge to sign off on certain court filings before they’re made public.

The attorney for a woman who had an affair with Greitens has accused the Republican governor’s attorneys of a “smear campaign.”

Attorney Scott Simpson said in a phone interview Tuesday that the Greitens team wants to discredit the woman before she testifies at his criminal trial next month.

Defense attorneys said in a court filing Sunday that the woman, in a deposition, wasn’t sure whether she saw Greitens holding a phone during the encounter. But Simpson says Greitens told her he had a photo, and he threatened to distribute it if she spoke of the affair.

Simpson wants the full transcript of the woman’s deposition released.