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Ex-FBI agent who investigated Greitens is 'innocent' of perjury charges, lawyer says

Ex-FBI agent who investigated Greitens is 'innocent' of perjury charges, lawyer says

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ST. LOUIS — William Don Tisaby, the ex-FBI agent indicted on perjury and evidence-tampering charges, is “absolutely 100 percent innocent” and is the target of a racially motivated grand jury investigation, his lawyer said Tuesday.

“Mr. Tisaby is looking forward to his day in court,” defense lawyer Jermaine Wooten said Tuesday. “This case will not be pled.”

Wooten said his client is not cooperating with the special prosecutor in the ongoing investigation.

William Don Tisaby

William Don Tisaby of Trussville, Ala., was indicted Friday, June 14, 2019, on six counts of perjury and one count of tampering with physical evidence. Booking photo provided by St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

An indictment against Tisaby, 66, of Trussville, Alabama, was unsealed Monday, charging him with six counts of perjury and one count of tampering with physical evidence. Tisaby has been under investigation by a special prosecutor who is looking into allegations that Tisaby lied during a March 2018 deposition in the lead-up to Gov. Eric Greitens’ criminal trial. The indictment came after a monthslong grand jury investigation by a special prosecutor, Gerard “Jerry” Carmody.

Carmody declined comment through a spokesman, citing a judge’s gag order.

Tisaby was hired by Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner in January 2018 to investigate an invasion of privacy case against Greitens, after news broke that he had had an affair with his hairdresser as he was preparing to run for office in 2015. The woman’s ex-husband claimed Greitens threatened to release a photo of her partly undressed if she exposed their affair. Greitens denied that.

Gardner hired Tisaby on the recommendation of another former FBI agent working in Gardner’s office, despite a past allegation that Tisaby had lied to FBI internal investigators looking into a bigamy claim.

In February 2018, a grand jury indicted Greitens. One month later, Greitens’ defense team deposed Tisaby, seeking to attack his investigation. Gardner, who was present at the deposition, frequently interrupted to head off questions about Tisaby’s investigation of matters unrelated to the invasion of privacy charge. The defense team deposed Tisaby again in April of last year, but he refused to answer questions.

{/div}During jury selection for Greitens’ trial in May 2018, defense lawyers sought to question Gardner about Tisaby. But Gardner abruptly dismissed the invasion of privacy charge against Greitens on the same day. Greitens later resigned as part of a deal with prosecutors over a charge that he improperly shared a donor list from a charity for the purpose of political fundraising.

Monday’s indictment accuses Tisaby of telling several lies under oath, including that he did not take notes during an interview with Greitens’ accuser, had not received documents from Gardner before the interview and did not ask questions during an interview with Greitens’ accuser. It also charges him with concealing documents from defense attorneys.

Tisaby’s indictment also casts a shadow on Gardner by claiming she failed to correct Tisaby’s lies, failed to report them to police, and made incorrect statements to defense lawyers and a judge.

Gardner’s office remains under investigation by the special prosecutor and grand jury.

Wooten spoke Tuesday in defense of Tisaby at a news conference on the steps of the Carnahan Courthouse downtown. Tisaby, who was released on his own recognizance Monday, did not attend.

“He was never untruthful,” Wooten said. “He never lied during the deposition.”

Tisaby “thought he had done a very good job until he received very heavy criticism from the Greitens defense team,” Wooten said. Tisaby is “very upset by how he’s treated. This is a man who had served this country eight years honorably in the Air Force, followed that up with 23 years in the FBI where he resigned honorably.”

Adolphus Pruitt II, president of the St. Louis city branch of the NAACP and also at the news conference, said Gardner is the target of a politically and racially motivated investigation.

He said St. Louis police have never taken seriously Gardner’s allegation that Greitens’ lawyers threatened to ruin her career if she refused to drop the case against the former governor.

“There’s no way in the world we can trust a justice system that would allow a prosecutor to be threatened during the case,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt and Gardner’s supporters also called on Circuit Judge Michael Mullen to lift a gag order in the Tisaby case so that Gardner could explain her side.

Gardner released a statement Tuesday saying that police have not thoroughly investigated her allegations against Greitens’ lawyers. She asked that a special prosecutor be assigned to the case.

St. Louis City Counselor Julian Bush referred questions about that investigation to city police. A police spokesman said the department cannot comment on the ongoing investigation.

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