April 19 (UPI) — Though he called prosecutors’ actions “sanctionable,” a St. Louis judge ruled Thursday to allow Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ felony invasion-of-privacy case to proceed.
Judge Rex Burlison ruled against defense attorneys’ motion to dismiss, which means that the felony trial will go forward starting May 14.
But Burlison also condemned in court St. Louis Prosecutor Kim Gardner for committing rule violations.
“These rules are not mere rules of etiquette,” Burlison said.
Greitens was indicted in February on one count of invasion of privacy. He is accused of threatening to release a nude photo of a woman to keep her from discussing their affair. He faces felony invasion-of-privacy charges for allegedly transmitting the nude photo, which officials say he took without her consent. Greitens admitted the affair, but denied blackmail claims.
Defense attorneys have accused Gardner of withholding evidence. It came from William Tisaby, a private investigator who the prosecutor had hired, and included a videotaped interview he’d taken of the woman. Without the tape, the defense argued it was not able to rebut claims she made in her deposition.
Burlison said he would allow defense attorneys to retake depositions and that he would consider monetary sanctions against Gardner.
Burlison’s decision is another blow to Greitens, who already faces pressure from state leaders to resign amid the allegations.
Greitens also became further embroiled in controversy Tuesday when a separate possible felony charge surfaced.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said on Tuesday that his office had evidence that Greitens may have stolen from his own charity called The Mission Continues. Greitens started the charity after serving as a Navy Seal, and the potential charge relates to him allegedly using the charity’s donor list for his campaign fundraising efforts.
Despite growing calls for his resignation, Greitens showed no desire to back down from his position in a tweet on Tuesday.
“I will not be resigning the Governor’s office,” Greitens tweeted. “In three weeks, this matter will go to a court of law-where it belongs and where the facts will prove my innocence. Until then, I will do what the people of Missouri sent me here to do: to serve them and work hard on their behalf.”