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Republicans defer to House committee’s investigation after MOGOP calls indictment a ‘political hit job’

  

Greitens’ attorneys, GOP ED say the indictment is unprecedented, while others believe that’s the point

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – As more and more members of the Republican-controlled legislature ask the Governor to resign after a Thursday afternoon Grand Jury indictment for felony violation of privacy laws, the Missouri Republican Party Executive Director Sam Cooper put out a statement denouncing the Grand Jury’s decision to indict.

Gov. Eric Greitens was taken into custody Thursday, February 22 in St. Louis City after a Grand Jury indictment. Booking photo from the St. Louis Justice Center.

“Kim Gardner has received more than $200,000 from George Soros groups,” Cooper said. “Missourians should see this for what it is, a political hit job. This law has never been prosecuted in this way and it is safe to say if Eric Greitens wasn’t governor, it wouldn’t have been this time either. We have a progressive anti-law enforcement Democrat wanting to single-handedly oust a law-and-order governor. We look forward to a bipartisan committee of legislators elected by people across Missouri to find out what’s really going on – ensuring St. Louis liberals aren’t controlling the future of our state.”

The statement, odd to most as a Grand Jury of Greitens’ peers indicted the Governor for his own actions, made waves on social media and in inboxes as Missourians shamed the statement.

Rep. Alan Green takes the oath before testifying before the House Ethics Committee. (BENJAMIN PETERS/THE MISSOURI TIMES)

“It is inappropriate for the Missouri Republican Party to attack the chief prosecutor for the city of St. Louis, Kim Gardner, as she performs her duties as an elected official,” Rep. Alan Green, chairman of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus, said. “To call the indictment of Governor Greitens – which was issued by a grand jury – a political hit job without any evidence is the exact kind of rhetoric the Republican Party claims to decry. I worked with Kim when she diligently served her community as a member of the Missouri House of Representatives. The fact of the matter is an independent grand jury found probable cause to indict our governor,” said Green.

While at least one member of the Missouri Republican Senatorial Committee agreed with the statement, other members pointed to the House committee being formed to begin investigating the Governor. The Party’s vice chair said the committee is the “next and best path forward for all parties concerned.”

“I saw the joint statement from Missouri House leaders Todd Richardson, Elijah Haahr, and Rob Vescovo that they would set up a task force, a group of legislators to investigate,” Kay Hoflander, vice chair of the Missouri Republican Party, said. “Similarly, MoGOP is supporting the plan for a bipartisan committee of legislators to find out what’s really going on. To me, that appears to be the next and best path forward for all parties concerned and certainly for the people of Missouri.”

“There is both the legal process and the process that includes the House of Representatives, I believe we should let both processes do their due diligence,” said Pat Thomas, MRP secretary. “In the meantime we all still need to be working together for the betterment of Missourians.

Eddy Justice, chairman of the 25th Senatorial District, echoed the sentiment of defaulting to legislative leadership.

Justice

“I trust Speaker Richardson explicitly and will reserve judgment until all the facts are revealed,” Justice said. “Emotional reactions are dangerous and often premature.”

Ralph Munyun, vice chair of the 7th Senatorial district, said he agrees with the MRP statement but did not elaborate.

MRP does not approve statements made by committee members.

However, Green elaborated further that decrying politicization through politicization was not the road the Party should have gone down.

“What is clear, is that the Republican Party would rather make this about politics than ‘law and order,’” Green said. “If the governor is innocent of all charges, he deserves to be vindicated by the judicial process to which all citizens are held accountable. It is ludicrous to claim that the consequences of his actions are the fault of ‘St. Louis liberals.”

The House is expected to form its investigative committee when the chamber returns next week.

The Governor is also being sued for his use of the Confide app, allegedly circumventing the state’s open record laws. Lawmakers and staff on the second and third floors of the Capitol have also been asked further questions about the Governor’s campaign and official tactics, ethics, and finances.

Cooper’s statement echoes the statement of Greitens’ legal counsel Ed Dowd, Jr., who said he hasn’t seen anything like this indictment.

Dowd

“We welcome reviewing this issue with the independent, bipartisan committee of the Missouri House of Representatives,” Dowd wrote in a statement and a letter to House leaders. “For 40 years as an attorney for the public and for private litigants, I have never seen anything like this. The charges are unfounded and baseless. The Governor is absolutely innocent. Not only is he presumed innocent – he is innocent. This whole investigation is completely unusual.

“This statute has never been used like this in Missouri history,” Dowd continued. “In unprecedented fashion, the Circuit Attorney circumvented the local police force and hired her own investigators – we attempted to meet with the Circuit Attorney and make the Governor available to discuss the issues. They refused. She proceeded to file an indictment that has no facts.

“We will work with the committee. We will be deposing witnesses and will be happy to share information with you with the Court’s permission.”

Curls

The statement was taken well and poorly, but one Democratic state senator agreed with Dowd.

“For the Governor’s attorney to say that for 40 years as an attorney, he has never seen anything like this… he’s right,” Sen. Kiki Curls tweeted late Thursday night. “I agree… neither have WE. Never before in the history of our state, has any Governor ever been indicted. A new low for Missouri…”

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