JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The team suing then-Gov. Eric Greitens over his and his employee’s use of a message-deleting app is seeking sanctions for failure to comply with a court order.
Last week, Cole Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem ordered that ordered the defendants to turn over “The names of all people who worked for the Office of the Governor, at any time during the term of Governor Eric Greitens, including the governor himself, who at any time downloaded and/or used Confide.”
The information was to “be affirmed by the Defendants and emailed to Plaintiff by Friday, June 1st at 1 p.m.” Greitens’ defense submitted the names of nearly 20 individuals — including the governor himself — who had downloaded/used Confide.
Mark Pedroli, attorney for Ben Sansone who is sued Greitens on behalf of The Sunshine Project alleging open record violations, filed a motion on Monday alleging that the answers were not affirmed and thus in violation of the court order. They are seeking sanctions in the term of monies.
“The information provided was not affirmed, under oath, pursuant to the Court Order, therefore Defendants are currently in violation of the Order, continuing a long tradition of stonewalling, evasion and partial compliance,” the motion states. “Unverified and unaffirmed answers are not compliant and perpetuate delay.”
Pedroli is asking that the court sanction the defendants by having them bare the cost of future discovery in the case. Provided that forensic copies of the phones that used Confide are ordered, the plaintiffs are seeking the defense pay for the copies and the forensic expert.
The costs of witness service fees, video propositions of parties and non-witnesses, and a Special Master — if appointed — are also sought as sanctions for failure to affirm the answers.
“Defendants have long employed delay tactics and refused to answer the most clear and relevant questions about the use of Confide,” states the motion.
“These sanctions will both punish Defendants for their continued delay tactics while also advancing the interest of the State, indeed, a rare opportunity for this Court.”
The lawsuit over Greitens’ teams use of Confide was in fast pace that week as they courts sought to preserve information and data as Greitens stepped down from his position at 5 p.m. Friday.
Read the full motion below:
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.