The Circuit Attorney's Office in the City of St. Louis has dropped the felony invasion-of-privacy charge against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R). But they pledge to proceed with re-filing the case either through an assistant or special prosecutor.
Judge Rex Burlison of the 22nd Circuit granted a request by Governor Greitens' defense team to call Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner as a witness in the case, accusing her of misconduct and prompting her to abandon the case on Monday. Gardner's office called the judge's move "unprecedented," and subsequently dropped the charge due to her refusal to testify.
Gardner spokeswoman Susan Ryan said, "A defendant who wishes to call a prosecutor as a witness must demonstrate 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."
At the heart of the case against Greitens is whether or not he took a "blackmail" photo of his former mistress without her consent when she was partially nude. But the governor's defense team said prosecutors gave up looking for the photo, after fruitless searches.
Greitens' former mistress also came under scrutiny after saying in a deposition that her recollection of the picture being taken could have been "a dream." But an investigative report conducted by Missouri's republican-run legislature found the ex-mistress to be a credible witness, prompting a special session for the purpose of considering disciplinary action against the governor.
Former Missouri House of Representatives staffer and Republican strategist Scott Dieckhaus shared the statement issued by the Circuit Attorney's office on Facebook, announcing their dropping of charges. He posted, "This is BAD news for team @EricGreitens - likely more competent prosecution and possibly more charges. #mogov"
Greitens is in the midst of another felony investigation over the alleged use of his former nonprofit's donor list for campaign solicitations.
Separate probes into the governor's actions are still going by the office of the state's Attorney General and a House Committee. The special disciplinary session is scheduled to being May 18.
Governor Greitens spoke shortly after the prosecutor's announcement.