May 23, 2018

Charge Dropped In Case of Missouri Governor, But Prosecutors Plan To Refile

16 May 2018, 12:19 | Winifred Adams

Prosecutor Drops Invasion Of Privacy Charges Against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens

Charges Dropped Against Greitens, Prosecutor Vows to Refile and Refine Case

Typically, lawyers in a case can not testify as witnesses without creating an ethical problem under the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct.

A special investigative committee of the Missouri House has also issued a report saying the woman told her now-ex-husband that Greitens subjected her to physical assault and emotional abuse.

The governor had been accused of invasion of privacy for taking a nude picture of the woman with whom he'd been having an affair.

Greitens and his allies have long contended that the investigation and charges against him are politically motivated. Prosecutors said they plan to name either a special prosecutor or one of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's assistants to refile the charge and move forward with the case.

A judge has yet to set a trial date on a remaining felony charge accusing Greitens of disclosing a donor list for The Mission Continues to his political fundraiser in 2015 without the permission of the St. Louis-based charity he founded. But a roster of Missouri Republican lawmakers have called on the governor to step down, including Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is challenging Democratic Sen.

On Friday, Missouri legislators are scheduled to begin a special session during which the state House of Representatives is expected to vote on impeaching Greitens.

Others who supported Greitens contend the dropped invasion-of-privacy charge should make it more hard to get the 82 votes necessary to impeach Greitens.

"The members of the House committee have discovered a disturbing pattern of allegations, most of which are completely separate from the case dismissed today", Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard and Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe said in the statement. Prosecutors say they hope to refile the case.

"We understand they have 27 days to do that", Ammann added. Leaders in the Republican-controlled House also urged the governor to "take advantage of our open offer to share his side of the facts" and testify to the House committee.

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Greitens hasn't directly answered questions about whether he took the photo, but defense attorneys said prosecutors were unable to find such a photo on Greitens' cellphone or cloud storage as jury selection in the criminal trial got underway. One of the figures under discussion now was Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, who was preparing to go to trial on charges that he took a nude photo of his hairdresser when she was bound and blindfolded and threatened to blackmail her with it.

The defense filed a new motion to dismiss the charge Monday. 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.

The defense team has accused the prosecution of wrongdoing during the investigation. They said she allowed a former lead investigator in the case to commit perjury.

Greitens's mistress, who has not been publicly identified, has claimed that he took a photo of her partially nude, bound and blindfolded, without her permission. "She was the only witness". A defendant who wishes to call a prosecutor as a witness must demonstrate a compelling and legitimate reason to do so.

Circuit Judge Rex Burlison said the man's party leadership role "may bring more politics than should be" to the case. The court's order leaves the Circuit Attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial.

The embattled governor celebrated the announcement and once again asserted his innocence.

The governor apologized for what he called "the pain that this process and my actions have caused my family, my friends, and the people of Missouri".

Vaccaro said her handling of the Greitens case may be a factor when aldermen begin budget negotiations soon. It released a report in April containing more testimony from the woman that Greitens had restrained, slapped, shoved, threatened and belittled her during a series of sexual encounters that at times left her crying and afraid.

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