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ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis judge on Thursday rejected a request from Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to dismiss a felony criminal indictment against him, but sanctioned prosecutors for failing to turn over evidence as soon as they should have.
Greitens was indicted in February on a charge of invasion of privacy. He’s accused of taking a nonconsensual photo of a partially nude woman with whom he had an affair in 2015, before he was elected. Greitens has admitted to the affair but denied criminal wrongdoing.
Attorneys for Greitens say a private investigator hired by the prosecutor has repeatedly lied to the court. They also allege that Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner knew he lied, and that her office has withheld evidence from the defense.
In order for the case to have been dismissed, the defendant would have to be irreparably harmed. KTVI reports that Judge Rex Burlison says although conduct by prosecutors is not to be condoned, and is serious, he believes it is capable of being cured. The judge says he will keep an eye on actions by the Circuit Attorney’s office. The case could be thrown out if there is another mistake.
Circuit Judge Rex Burlison’s sanctions include allowing the defense to retake depositions with the woman who is at the center of the case and with the private investigator.
“These rules are not mere rules of etiquette,” the judge said. “Clearly in this case the state has committed sanctionable discovery violations of the rules of criminal procedure.”
Greitens’ trial is scheduled for May 14. It’s 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.