Greitens' invasion of privacy charge dismissed, could be refiled by special prosecutor

Prosecutors yesterday dropped an invasion-of-privacy charge filed against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Legal experts say it's almost impossible in high-profile cases to find jurors who know nothing of the basic facts.

The Missouri General Assembly will convene a special session on Friday to consider impeachment or any other discipline that a special House investigative panel may recommend against Greitens.

The committee released a second report May 2 with testimony about how Greitens' gubernatorial campaign had used a donor list from The Mission Continues without the permission of the St. Louis-based veterans' charity he founded. A trial date in that case has not been set.

Greitens has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has refused to resign.

Rep. Jay Barnes, the committee chair, said on Monday that they received some documents that the committee subpoenaed from the governor and his legal team. "This experience has been humbling and I have emerged from it a changed man".

The office of Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis, Kim Gardner, said it will decide to either pursue a special prosecutor or appoint one of her assistants to handle the case. Greitens' defense team had accused Gardner of allowing private investigator William Tisaby, whom she hired, to commit perjury and withhold evidence from defense attorneys.

"So, to say they're dismissing because she was being called as a witness, that it sort of, not the complete picture", said John Ammann, Law Professor at St. Louis University. A defendant who wishes to call a prosecutor as a witness must demonstrate a compelling and legitimate reason to do so. "The court's order leaves the Circuit Attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial".

"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", Gardner's office said.

"We will move forward on this", Ryan told The Associated Press.

However, the clock for a special prosecutor to refile charges is ticking.

The governor has been charged with criminal invasion of privacy after an unidentified woman that Greitens admitted to having an affair with said he blackmailed her with inappropriate photos. It was filed just shy of three years after March 21, 2015, when the woman has said to lawmakers and to her ex-husband that she first had a sexual encounter with Greitens. Greitens has declined to directly answer questions about whether he took the photo.

The AP paraphrased his lawyers as saying, "the case was crumbling under a lack of evidence" and that they "doubted any charge would ever be refiled".

The prosecutor's surprise move Monday to drop a felony charge against Greitens came after the third day of jury selection in his trial. Scott Rosenblum, one of the governor's lawyers, accused the circuit attorney of "misconduct from the beginning of this case to the end", as recently in the last week.

A Missouri House committee investigating Greitens is also moving ahead with its work, announcing in a brief meeting Monday that subpoenas have been issued for the Greitens for Missouri campaign, the pro-Greitens nonprofit group A New Missouri, and the governor's former campaign manager and top political adviser Austin Chambers. He said in a sworn statement that he didn't take notes during his interviews, but was caught on video 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 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.

The grand jury indictment accused Greitens of taking a nonconsensual photo of the woman while she was partially naked and of transmitting the image to a computer.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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