The criminal invasion of privacy case against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was suddenly dismissed Monday.
The announcement came after both sides went into the judge’s chambers Monday evening.
Assistant St. Louis Circuit Attorney Ronald Sullivan made the surprise announcement in court after the third day of jury selection in Greitens’ trial. Sullivan cited the fact that Greitens’ defense attorneys planned to call the St. Louis circuit attorney, whose handling of the case has been under constant criticism by Greitens attorneys.
A spokesperson for Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said Greitens’ defense team made a motion to include Gardner as a witness, a motion that Judge Burlison agreed to.
“The court’s order places the Circuit Attorney in the impossible position of being a witness, subject to cross-examination within the offer of proof by her own subordinates,” the statement read. The prosecution filed a dismissal with the court, but the Circuit Attorney’s Office said they plan to re-file charges, saying they will research the best “steps forward for this case in light of the court’s ruling.”
Greitens’ attorneys have criticized Gardner’s handling of the case, particularly her hiring of private investigator William Tisaby, who Greitens’ lawyers have accused of perjury.
Greitens was accused of taking and transmitting a nonconsensual photo of an at least partially nude woman with whom he had an affair in 2015.
When the dismissal was announced, Greitens and his defense were seen smiling in court.
Read the full statement from the Circuit Attorney’s Office
Since January, Governor Greitens and his defense team have taken a scorched-earth legal and media strategy and relentlessly attacked the intentions, character and integrity of every person involved in investigating the Governor’s behavior including Missouri House Committee members, the Attorney General, the Circuit Attorney and her team, his victim, her family and those who have called for his resignation.
On February 22, 2018, a Grand Jury indicted Governor Greitens on Felony Invasion of Privacy. The Circuit Attorney has done everything in her power to remain focused on the facts and the truth of this matter. The Circuit Attorney and her team are ready, willing and able to go to trial this week on behalf of the people of the state of Missouri and Mr. Greitens’ victim.
Last week, Governor Greitens made a motion to include the Circuit Attorney as a defense witness. A defendant who wishes to call a prosecutor as a witness must demonstrate a compelling and legitimate reason to do so. Governor Greitens has produced no compelling reason to include the Circuit Attorney as a witness for any purpose. The defense team knows that the tactic of endorsing the Circuit Attorney as a witness is part of their ongoing effort to distract people from the defendant’s actions that brought about both the felony Invasion of Privacy and Computer Tampering charges against him.
22nd Circuit Judge Rex Burlison made an unpreceded decision by granting a request by Governor Greitens’ defense team to endorse the Circuit Attorney as a witness for the defense. The court’s order places the Circuit Attorney in the impossible position of being a witness, subject to cross-examination within the offer of proof by her own subordinates.
While the court has other remedies, such as calling the private attorney of K.S. as a witness, it has chosen not to do so. 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. The court’s order leaves the Circuit Attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial. Therefore, the court has left the Circuit Attorney with no other legal option than to dismiss and refile this matter.
The Circuit Attorney and her team will research the best step forward for this case in light of the court’s ruling. The Circuit Attorney will be make a decision to either pursue a special prosecutor or make an appointment of one of her assistants to proceed.