Missouri attorney general chronicles legal actions against St. Louis prosecutor

(The Center Square) – Six months after Democrat Kim Gardner resigned as circuit attorney for the city of St. Louis, Republican Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey has published a 62-page document chronicling his case to remove her from office.

The “Kim Gardner Report” provides Bailey’s account of Gardner’s performance beginning in 2017. He provides a summary of his quo warranto proceedings, a legal action to remove an elected official from office, and makes several recommendations.

Gardner was the first Black, female prosecutor in the state. She was re-elected to the position in 2022 with 74% of the vote. Her legal team attempted to dismiss Bailey’s case in April.

“This Court must dismiss his amended petition as the ill-advised political stunt that it is, unsupported by the facts or the law,” Gardner’s defense team argued.

Bailey reviews his office’s actions, from Gardner’s resignation on May 16 through present work with Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s appointee Gabe Gore to her position. He provides a summary of witness interviews conducted with judges, former circuit attorney office employees and victims.

Bailey also makes a recommendation to the General Assembly to pass legislation to make anyone who resigns from elected office during a quo warranto proceeding to be ineligible for that office.

“Of course, inasmuch as ‘all political power is vested in and derived from the people;’” Bailey writes in the report, quoting the Missouri Constitution, “that possibility may be a risk that the people are willing to live with. On the other hand, if prompted by the will of the people, the General Assembly could amend our laws to render a person ineligible to run for a particular public office after being removed from that particular office by quo warranto or after resigning from that particular office during the pendency of quo warranto proceedings.”

By documenting and publishing the investigation and proceedings of legal actions against Gardner, Bailey states it fulfills Missourians’ right to know what transpired.

“A petition in quo warranto is an extraordinary remedy that should be brought only in extraordinary circumstances,” the report states. “Ms. Gardner’s knowing and willful dereliction of her duties presented such circumstances, and, being entrusted by the people with the authority and duty to act, Attorney General Bailey took appropriate action to remove a usurper from office.”

Bailey, who was appointed as attorney general last November by Parson and is running for the office in 2024, concludes the report by stating the information will help the city of St. Louis and the state prevent future problems with elected officials.

“It is the hope that the investigation, litigation, observations, and recommendations summarized in this report will help the people of St. Louis and the State of Missouri understand the profound and willful failures of the former Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner and that such understanding will aid in preventing such a ruinous situation from arising again in the future,” the report states.

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