ST. LOUIS (AP) — The “egregious” mistake of relying on a bungling private investigator to help handle the criminal indictment of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens should not prompt dismissal of the case, a top official in the St. Louis prosecutor’s office told a judge Monday.
The comments came as a judge considers a request from Greitens’ attorneys to dismiss a felony invasion-of-privacy charge against the Republican governor because of missteps by prosecutors. The charge stems from an affair Greitens had with his St. Louis hairdresser and alleges that he took a compromising photo of her without her consent.
Meanwhile Monday, another attorney for Greitens urged Attorney General Josh Hawley to recuse his office from a separate investigation of a veterans charity founded by the governor after Hawley said last week that Greitens should resign.
The St. Louis circuit attorney’s office hired private investigator William Tisaby rather than relying on local police to investigate the allegations stemming from Greitens’ affair, and prosecutors have blamed Tisaby for delays in handing over evidence to the defense team.
“This is not worthy of the ultimate sanction of dismissal,” Chief Trial Assistant Robert Dierker said.
Circuit Judge Rex Burlison said he will rule Thursday on the defense request to dismiss the case.
Greitens was indicted in February and is scheduled go to trial May 14.
Several leading lawmakers have called for his resignation since a special legislative committee’s report last week that included allegations of unwanted sexual aggression against the woman. Greitens has denied any criminal wrongdoing and says the relationship was “entirely consensual.”
Attorneys for Greitens have repeatedly claimed the prosecutor’s office has failed to turn over evidence. They said in court Thursday that a videotaped deposition of the woman was withheld until an hour after the special House committee’s report was released.
On Monday, attorney Jim Martin said 11 pages of Tisaby’s notes from a deposition of a friend of the woman, requested weeks ago, were not turned over until Sunday, after Martin threatened to go to court to ask for them.
“We have seen that information has been hidden from us, exculpatory information,” Martin said.
Dierker, comparing Tisaby to the incompetent fictional Inspector Clouseau from “The Pink Panther” movies, said Tisaby has “caused us to appear to be hiding the ball.”
“We are saddled with the egregious mistake of relying on him,” Dierker said.
Phone and email messages left with Tisaby were not immediately returned Monday.
Hawley, a Republican running for U.S. Senate, was among those urging Greitens to resign after the legislative committee report. Hawley’s office is investigating the charity The Mission Continues as it relates to the state’s consumer protection and charitable registration and reporting laws.
Greitens attorney Edward L. Dowd Jr., told Hawley Monday in a letter obtained by The Associated Press that it’s clear the attorney general has “predetermined the guilt of his own investigative target and his investigation is now clearly compromised.”
Dowd wrote that the entire attorney general’s office should be recused because of Hawley’s statement.
A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office did not immediately comment.