Grand jury disbands without indicting St. Louis prosecutor

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A grand jury that indicted the man hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to investigate then-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has disbanded, but Gardner may not be clear of scrutiny.

St. Louis Circuit Court spokesman Thom Gross confirmed Wednesday that the grand jury’s term had expired without a second indictment. The term expired Monday.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, citing unnamed sources, reported that an investigation of Gardner continued and that a special prosecutor might request another grand jury. Special Prosecutor Gerard Carmody has not returned messages left Wednesday.

Gardner, a Democrat, hired William Tisaby to investigate whether Greitens, a Republican, had taken an unauthorized, compromising cellphone photo of a woman inside his St. Louis home in 2015 during an extramarital affair. Greitens was charged with felony invasion of privacy in February 2018. The charge was dropped, but he resigned in June 2018.

Tisaby was indicted last month on perjury and evidence tampering related to his investigation of Greitens. The seven-count indictment accused Tisaby, a former FBI agent, of lying during a deposition.

Gardner’s handling of the Greitens case drew condemnation from the former governor’s attorneys. The indictment of Tisaby raised concerns about whether Gardner was complicit in his alleged crimes, saying that she had failed to correct Tisaby’s inaccuracies or report them and that she herself had  incorrect statements to defense attorneys and a judge.

Gardner is the first black woman to serve as circuit attorney. Her attorney, Roy Austin of Washington, called the investigation a “sham” and said he saw a “lack of respect for black women prosecutors.”

“I cannot figure out why Kim Gardner would be targeted except for her race and gender, for something as nonsensical as this,” Austin said in a phone interview. The NAACP and other black leaders in St. Louis also have been critical of the investigation of Gardner.

Austin said he had no knowledge of any ongoing investigation now that the grand jury’s term had ended.

“They indicted someone, improperly in my mind,” Austin said of Tisaby. “The fact they would continue this makes absolutely no sense to me.”

Tisaby’s attorney has denied allegations in the indictment and pledged to take the case to court rather than accept any plea deal.

Gross said the conclusion of the grand jury also meant that a gag order had been lifted. Gardner called a news conference for Thursday to discuss the case.


June Heath

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