Embattled Missouri Governor Eric Greitens took to Twitter on Thursday accusing St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner from withholding evidence and allowing her lead investigator to lie about it under oath.
The governor’s statement comes after a tense hearing on Thursday morning in which his defense team accused Gardner and her team of withholding evidence and “gross misconduct and incompetence.”
The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office said they conducted a two hour videotaped interview with the Missouri governor’s former mistress last month. Greitens’ lawyers said they were told the interview, conducted by Don Tisaby, a former FBI agent hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office to help with the investigation, was lost because the video recorder “malfunctioned.”
Greitens tweeted on Thursday that “the prosecutor turned over a videotape of her interview with the woman. This was evidence that the prosecutor was legally required to turn over months ago. She purposefully kept it hidden until one hour after the false report was released.”
The governor also states that investigative report that was released on Wednesday did not contain the evidence that Gardner handed over on Thursday, and the allegations in that report will be refuted by facts, including the video, depositions, discovery, and other evidence that will be subjected to courtroom analysis.
On Tuesday, Circuit Judge Rex Burlison who is presiding over the case issued a partial gag order that limits the release of new details about Greitens’ 2015 affair.
According to Gardner’s office, Greitens’ recent tweet doesn’t violate the judge’s gag order — since the judge gave him permission to make a statement defending himself from the House report and that this latest statement qualifies as just that.
Rep. Don Phillips, R-Kimberling City, who was also the vice chair of the committee, contradicted Greitens’ statement saying the investigation was accurate and that through his 28 years as a Missouri state trooper, he relied on his lessons on learning the truth.
“The report released Wednesday reflects the thorough examination each committee member took in determining the validity of the facts of Governor Greitens’ conduct. The transcripts show that members did not just accept testimony as fact, but cross-examined witnesses, at times repeatedly and persistently, to ensure that what was reported to the House was indeed deemed accurate,” Phillips said. “Each member of the committee drew on their own professional experiences to question and determine each witness’s credibility. For me, I relied upon the lessons I learned in my 28 years as a Missouri state trooper in my inquiries and in my consideration of the truth.”
Many lawmakers are calling for the governor to resign following the report that was released, which details the alleged conduct by Greitens with the woman who testified under oath that Greitens subjected her to non-consensual sexual activity and violence.
The report detailed the victim’s testimony that Greitens slapped her and called her a whore during one particular encounter. The report also detailed instances of slapping, shoving, and grabbing. On more than one occasion the woman was reduced to tears.
The committee was on a fact-finding mission regarding Greitens’ affair with his St. Louis-based hairdresser and a tape made available to KMOV regarding an incident where he allegedly takes a picture of her without her consent and uses it to ensure her silence.
He has denied the blackmail, has not confirmed or denied a picture, and called the investigation a “witch hunt” into a consensual relationship.
Just an hour before the report was released, Greitens pushed back against the findings calling them “lies.”
The report, which focuses on the unnamed woman’s recounting of events, pulls into question just how consensual the relationship was and other claims that have been made in recent weeks. Greitens declined to testify and did not respond to any of the committee’s request for documents and sworn answers to written interrogatories.
The House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight was formed by Speaker Todd Richardson on February 27, 2018, following the grand jury indictment of Greitens on a felony invasion-of-privacy charge in St. Louis.
Burlison, who issued a gag order in the case Tuesday permitting all parties involved in the case from commenting on it outside the courtroom, said he would allow Greitens to respond to the report, saying, “he has the right to proclaim his innocence.”