ST. LOUIS • Lawyers defending Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens against an invasion of privacy indictment complained Tuesday that St. Louis prosecutors may be concealing evidence in the case by employing private investigators from Michigan.
Susan Ryan, a spokeswoman for the circuit attorney’s office, denied that, saying police, the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office declined to investigate for various reasons.
At nearly the same time, prosecutors turned over a “stack” of 65 pages of discovery as well as two DVDs to the defense.
The discovery included transcripts of taped recordings of Greitens’ former lover and her ex-husband, emailed questions and answers from a KMOV-TV interview with the ex-husband, public statements of Greitens, emails between the couple, taped statements made by the woman and a photo of her.
“The photo the prosecution references is a publicly posted professional headshot,” said Greitens’ attorney Ed Dowd. “Given the public circumstances, this was exceptionally misleading.”
Ryan declined to say whether both the woman and her ex-husband spoke to the grand jury that indicted Greitens.
In the defense motion Tuesday, Greitens’ lawyers said St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner paid Enterra LLC a $10,000 retainer, and agreed to pay investigators at a rate of $250 an hour plus expenses. Those investigators report only to Gardner, and make written reports only if she requests them, according to a contract filed with the defense motion.
Because Gardner is using a private company, there are no police reports to turn over, as in a normal case, the motion says.
Enterra is a Rochester, Mich., based investigative and security firm that lists clients such as Waste Management and Children’s Hospital in Boston, according to its website. Its CEO is William Don Tisaby, who says he has more than 20 years of experience working for the FBI.
While allowing that the defense team was still researching the matter, “there is grave concern that the Circuit Attorney’s avoidance of using the SLMPD and instead using a private investigator from Michigan to carry out her investigation has and will impact the admissibility of evidence in this case,” the motion says.
Greitens’ lawyers are asking St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison to order Gardner to turn over any “investigative materials” generated by Enterra, or order the company to preserve any of those materials.
The motion also raises concerns that grand jurors were not told that the law “prohibits the invasion of privacy ‘where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy,’” defining that place as somewhere one can disrobe without concern that they were being viewed or filmed.
The indictment doesn’t contain all that language, the motion says, and if grand jurors were not instructed on the full language of the law, the defense motion suggests that “there may be grounds to dismiss the indictment.”
Ryan, responding to the motion, said that prosecutors “have committed to abide by all rules of discovery.” She repeated variations of that phrase when asked about specific items mentioned in the defense motion, pointing out that some materials, like attorney-client work product, are not subject to discovery.
Ryan said prosecutors initially went to St. Louis police for an investigation. Police declined, saying it was a public corruption case, and referred prosecutors to the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI.
The federal agencies declined, saying it was not their jurisdiction, Ryan said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith declined to comment when asked about Ryan’s statements.
Prosecutors then went with an out-of-state firm to avoid any possible outside influence, Ryan said. She said there have been more than half a dozen independent investigations over 15 years.
The motion is the second to attack the indictment, and is probably a signal that Greitens’ large legal team will attack every aspect of the case. Asked about that, Ryan said, “It has already.” She also described Greitens’ legal team as an “armada of lawyers.”
Ryan also defended the amount Enterra was being paid, saying it was comparable to what experienced police investigators would cost, including overtime, and vowed that prosecutors would pay for the firm from within the office budget, without any additional cost to taxpayers.
The investigation began last month after allegations that Greitens took a picture of the woman nude or partially nude without her consent, then threatened to release it if she mentioned his name. Greitens has denied blackmailing the woman. His lawyer has denied that a photo was taken. Greitens subsequently has refused to answer questions about it.
The scandal has prompted calls for Greitens’ resignation, as well as an investigation by legislators.
At a hearing Monday, defense attorneys said they wanted any evidence in the case as soon as possible so they can start deposing witnesses.
Greitens’ attorney Jack Garvey said the team also wants a speedy trial, in front of a jury, and asked for a trial date by the end of April.
Burlison tentatively set a trial date of May 14.
Ryan said Tuesday that prosecutors wanted a date sometime between August and October.
This story was updated March 1, 2018, to reflect that a spokeswoman said neither Laclede Gas Co. nor Spire (the company's new name), has ever hired Enterra to do work. It was listed on Enterra's website as "companies we help." Enterra was hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to investigate allegations against Gov. Eric Greitens.