JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — With the special session to explore potential disciplinary action against Gov. Eric Greitens days away from starting, the embattled governor wants proceedings to mirror a criminal trial.
A letter sent by Edward D. Greim, partner at Graves Garrett, the law firm hired to represent the governor in potential impeachment proceeding; to Rep. Jay Barnes, the chairman of the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight; and the House of Representative puts forth a potential timeline and requests certain procedures be followed.
“…both branches of the government share a common interest in arriving at the truth in a way that does justice to the gravity of this unique moment in the history of our constitution and our state,” the letter sent May 11 states.
The letter requests that whichever committee is tasked with hearing the evidence and making disciplinary recommendations follow “hallmarks of due process.”
The governor’s defense wants a list of all subject matters the committee is investigating, the ability to attending all proceedings — including hearings and meetings —, the ability to cross-examine all who testify, the ability to present their own witnesses — with subpoena power, and the ability to present documentary evidence.
“Additionally, we respectfully propose a timetable that will allow proceedings to be completed within thirty days of May 18, 2018,” and “provide ample opportunity for the Committee to carefully consider reliable evidence,” the letter states.
The proposed timetable is:
On or before May 18 — House discloses list of issues to be addressed in disciplinary/impeachment proceedings, identifies the responsible committee, and adopts rules of procedure
May 21 — Committee discloses list of witnesses and exhibits and exculpatory evidence
May 23 — Governor/Office of the Governor disclose list of witnesses and exhibits
May 24 — Speaker issues subpoenas pursuant to Section 21.400, RSMo., on behalf of Committee and Governor/Office of the Governor
June 4-8 — Evidentiary hearings, followed by summations
June 11 — Committee transmits report, recommendations and full record of proceedings to the full record of proceedings to the full House
“This seems more like a proposal for the trial. House process is the investigative/charging phase. Normally wouldn’t allow accused to cross examine at this stage or to see evidence. But after house votes, this schedule seems appropriate,” Chuck Hatfield tweeted on Tuesday morning.
The Missouri Constitution lays out the process for impeachment in Article VII, Sections 1 and 2.
Section 2 reads, “The house of representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment. All impeachments shall be tried before the supreme court, except that the governor or a member of the supreme court shall be tried by a special commission of seven eminent jurists to be elected by the senate. The supreme court or special commission shall take an oath to try impartially the person impeached, and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of five-sevenths of the court or special commission.”
The special session is set to begin on Friday at 6:30 p.m. In preparation for potential impeachment proceedings, Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard has reportedly looked at potential judges to serve on the jury of which the impeachment would be tried.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.