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Panel backs reprimand for St. Louis circuit attorney over Greitens probe

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St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner Press Conference

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner reads a prepared statement during a press conference at the Carnahan Courthouse, Wednesday, May 30, 2018, in St. Louis. Gardner announced her office has dropped the felony computer tampering case against Gov. Eric Greitens. Photo by Nikos Frazier,

ST. LOUIS — A disciplinary panel recommended a reprimand on Tuesday for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner in an ethics case prompted by her office's handling of charges against former Gov. Eric Greitens. 

The Missouri Supreme Court still must approve the reprimand. 

The three-person panel based its recommendation on a "joint stipulation," made during an April 11 hearing, between the state's chief disciplinary counsel and Gardner that included an acknowledgement of mistakes in her office’s prosecution of Greitens in 2018.

The stipulation said Gardner’s office “failed to maintain a comprehensive approach to collecting, producing and logging documents,” but that she did not intentionally fail to produce them. Gardner also “admits that she should have been more vigilant in ensuring the prosecution’s discovery obligations” and that she should have promptly disclosed notes from interviews with key witnesses.

Gardner's office hired investigator William Don Tisaby for its case against Greitens, who was charged with a felony count of invasion of privacy. Tisaby pleaded guilty in March to a misdemeanor count of evidence tampering. He was accused of lying during a daylong deposition in March 2018 about his probe of the former governor.

Gardner dropped the charge against Greitens on May 14, 2018, during jury selection after a judge decided she would have to testify about her office’s handling of the case. Greitens resigned from office a few weeks later.

In its recommendation, the panel noted that “this was not a situation where a criminal defendant was wrongfully convicted because exculpatory evidence was not provided to his defense."

A spokesman for Gardner declined to comment Tuesday on the panel's recommendation.

The three members of the panel were Sheryl Butler of St. Louis and lawyers Elizabeth D. McCarter of St. Louis and Keith A. Cutler of Kansas City.

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