Gardner's Case Against Greitens Takes Hit After Testimony From Woman At Center Of Charge
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's case against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens took a massive hit after his defense team filed a motion Sunday that includes testimony the woman involved in an extra-marital affair with Greitens gave under oath on Friday that contradicts Gardner's case against the governor.
Greitens' defense team filed a motion Sunday demanding that Gardner release to them any information she has that would be favorable to the defense. The motion alleges that Gardner has likely known for several months that she "lacks evidence to prove the offense", and has also "deprived the House Committee...looking into these matters...of essential information."
The woman at the center of Greitens' felony invasion of privacy case testified Friday that she did not see Greitens with any kind of device the day Gardner claims he took a compromising photo of her to blackmail her into silence. Her testimony reveals that not only did she not see a photo or device that day, but that she continued to see Greitens after that day, had sent her own photos to him, and never even considered that anything criminal had ever happened during the affair.
Greitens' defense team says the woman also revealed in that testimony that she gave two interviews to Gardner in January, one which was she was told was videotaped.
She testified that she was interviewed for approximately two hours by Gardner and a private investigator that Gardner hired instead of using the St. Louis Police Department or her own team of investigators. The motion says that Gardner claims the videotape is not available due to a "malfunction", and that no notes were taken.
The woman also testified that she gave an interview on January 24 where only Gardner was present. Greitens' defense says the information Gardner gave them from that interview did not contain anything disclosed during Friday's testimony.
The motion also says the woman testified that what she said in the recordings provided by her now ex-husband which are the sole basis for the investigation and charge were "lies". The woman also testified that she had transmitted images of herself involving nudity to Greitens. Gardner's charge claims that the woman never consented to any images being taken of her in the nude.
The woman, whose ex-husband taped her confessing to having an affair with Greitens several years ago before he ran for office, has never come forward to accuse Greitens of any crime, and has refused to discuss the affair publicly. The recording of her confession to her then husband was part of a story released on a St. Louis television news report the same night Governor Greitens delivered his "State of the State" address, which called for sweeping tax reform in the State of Missouri.
In the recording, she is heard confessing to the affair, and then tells him that Greitens may have used a smart phone to take a photo of her in a compromising position, to blackmail her from going public with the affair.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced the night that story broke that she would be investigating Greitens. She assembled a grand jury which indicted him in February.
Gardner's investigation and prosecution has been mired in controversy. No evidence of a photo has been provided, and several people involved in the investigation, including the woman involved in the affair have testified that they have never seen the photo in question.
Many questions about the way Gardner has handled the case have also raised some doubts about the charge, including hiring a Michigan firm to conduct the investigation, instead of using the police department or investigators from the Circuit Attorney's Office.
In a recent deposition of Gardner's hired investigator, William Tisaby, he testified that he had never seen the alleged photo, had never seen any evidence of transmission of a photo, and did not know of anyone who had even searched for evidence of either.
In court documents filed Sunday, Greitens' defense team says the woman testified under oath Friday that she never "saw a photograph, has no evidence of transmission of any image", and that her earlier claim that she saw Greitens with a smart phone that day was, "based on a dream or vision."
The woman also testified Friday that not only had she voluntarily sent Greitens her own nude images, but she continued to see him for months after the alleged photo was taken. She also testified that she never considered anything that happened between her and Greitens "as a criminal matter", saying that was the "last thing on her mind" when the story broke that night in January.
Greitens defense team says that neither the grand jury that indicted Greitens nor the Missouri House Committee investigating the governor for possible impeachment hearings were given any of the information the woman gave during Friday's testimony.
The motion calls for Gardner to immediately provide all evidence and information her office has on the case, saying the revelations made during Friday's testimony are too substantial for the prosecution to not already be aware of them. The motion also calls for Gardner's claim that the loss of the videotaped interview be investigated.
Governor Greitens has requested that the House Committee delay releasing its findings in light of the new information. The Committee has said that it will not delay the release of its findings, which are expected sometime this week.
The latest information bolsters Greitens' statement that the investigation is "political". Democrats and several Republicans have called for Greitens to resign, which he has refused to do.
Many political experts have questioned whether or not Gardner was pressured to target Greitens before a major election in November, where Senator Claire McCaskill faces one of the toughest re-election fights in the country. Former Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones has also pointed to speculation that Greitens is also being targeted because of his move to block taxpayer money from going to a controversial tax credit that several state audits have found to funnel millions in taxpayer money to developers just weeks before the story of the affair was released in January.
Greitens' criminal trial is still scheduled to begin May 14. He was recently denied a request by Circuit Court Judge Rex Burlison for a trial by judge. Jury selection is slated to begin May 10.