(The Center Square) – The Missouri Supreme Court will review a settlement recommending a reprimand – not a suspension, probation or disbarment – for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner after admitting she mistakenly withheld evidence during a 2018 criminal case against former Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.
Gardner appeared before a three-member panel of the Missouri Office of Disciplinary Counsel yesterday to answer questions about prosecutorial misconduct. Greitens’ lawyers filed a 73-page report stating Gardner failed to disclose evidence and misrepresented evidence.
The 40-page settlement, signed by Gardner and her attorney, Michael Downey, and Alan Pratzel, the chief disciplinary counsel, says, “Upon consideration of the facts, the admitted violations, the application of the ABA (American Bar Association) Standards for Imposing Sanctions to the misconduct, and the Missouri Supreme Court’s previous discipline decisions, the parties jointly ask the Panel to find the violations admitted herein and to recommend that the Supreme Court reprimand Respondent.” The panel has 30 days to make a recommendation to the Missouri Supreme Court.
The state’s high court has the authority to punish Gardner further, including removing her ability to practice law in the state.
Gardner’s office investigated, and a grand jury indicted Greitens in 2018 after a woman alleged that Greitens took a compromising photo and threatened to use it as blackmail if she spoke of their relationship, according to several media reports. William Tisaby, a private investigator hired by Gardner to work on the Greitens case, pled guilty in March to a misdemeanor charge of evidence tampering in the case. Greitens resigned as governor in 2018 after Gardner and other lawmakers began investigating alleged misconduct.
Gardner, a Democrat, was elected in 2017 as St. Louis’ first Black female circuit attorney and re-elected in 2020. The settlement states Gardner “should have been more vigilant in ensuring the prosecution’s discovery obligations were properly addressed in the expedited and highly public proceedings relating to the prosecution of Mr. Greitens.”
The settlement also states:
-Gardner admits that she and her office should have promptly disclosed all variations of her notes and Mr. Tisaby’s notes related to interviews of key witnesses;
-had Gardner and her office located the additional documents, they would have produced or listed them in a log of privileged documents.
Greitens claimed vindication.
“Today’s groundbreaking decision affirms what we have known all along – (George) Soros funded prosecutor Kim Gardner conducted a political witch hunt,” Greitens, a candidate for the seat of retiring Republican U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, said in a statement after the announcement of the settlement. “Due to overwhelming evidence and over 70 perjury charges against her, Gardner today admitted to wrongdoing and said it was ‘mistake on my part.’ From hiring former FBI agent William Tisaby… to lying and engaging in a coverup to conceal her misconduct, Gardner is the worst type of public official, corrupt and crooked.”
Greitens is involved in additional legal actions against his ex-wife, Sheena Greitens, for custody of their two sons. The former governor accused his ex-wife of working with political operatives after her affidavit alleging Eric physically and mentally abused the children was made public last month.