ST. LOUIS (AP) — A special prosecutor tasked with determining if attorneys for former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens threatened St. Louis’ top prosecutor said in a report released Thursday that he found no evidence that the attorneys committed a crime.
Boone County Associate Circuit Judge Michael Bradley wrote that although Greitens’ attorneys made aggressive statements to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, there was no evidence they tried to “harass, intimidate or threaten” her.
Gardner, a Democrat, charged the then-governor, a Republican, with felony invasion of privacy in February 2018 for allegedly taking a compromising and unauthorized photo of a woman he was having an affair with. Gardner accused Greitens’ attorneys of threatening to “ruin” her over the charges.
The criminal case was later dropped, but Greitens, a former Navy SEAL officer, resigned in June 2018, less than a year and a half into his first term.
At issue was a March 2108 meeting involving Gardner, others on her team and attorneys for Greitens. Gardner told a police investigator that Greitens’ attorneys had told her that if she proceeded with the case, “my career would be ruined and things would get difficult.”
Greitens’ attorneys denied that they had threatened Gardner. Bradley, who was appointed in July to investigate the allegations, said it appeared the defense team was simply being vigorous in trying to persuade Gardner to dismiss the case.
“Such aggressive behavior by the defense team, while being described as a ‘scorched earth’ tactic, is not a criminal threat,” Bradley wrote.
Several of Greitens’ attorneys and Gardner didn’t immediately reply to messages seeking comment.
Though Greitens has been out of office for nearly a year and a half, fallout from the criminal case persists. A separate special prosecutor appointed to look into issues raised by Greitens’ attorneys indicted an investigator hired by Gardner, William Tisaby, in June for perjury.
The indictment of Tisaby, a former FBI agent, accused him of lying during a deposition. He denied any wrongdoing.
The Tisaby indictment raised concerns about whether Gardner was complicit in his alleged crimes. Critics said that she had failed to correct Tisaby’s inaccuracies or report them, and that she herself had made incorrect statements to defense attorneys and a judge. She said she did nothing illegal or unethical.
The investigation is ongoing.
Several black leaders have repeatedly shown support for Gardner, St. Louis’ first black circuit attorney. Some have suggested that the scrutiny to which her office has been subjected could be racially motivated.
Gardner is a former state legislator who was elected circuit attorney in 2016.