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Special prosecutor says Kim Gardner’s nepotism lawsuit should be dismissed; Gardner disagrees

Special prosecutor says Kim Gardner’s nepotism lawsuit should be dismissed; Gardner disagrees

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ST. LOUIS — An appointed special prosecutor and a lawyer for St. Louis' top prosecutor clashed in court Tuesday over the merits of Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner's nepotism lawsuit seeking to disqualify the man leading an investigation into her office.

Gerard "Jerry" Carmody told a judge Tuesday that Gardner's nepotism lawsuit against him is improper because of her conflict of interest in a perjury probe of her private investigator who investigated former Gov. Eric Greitens. Carmody said he should not be disqualified because he's following a court order enabling him to use his law firm's resources — including his two adult children, both lawyers in the firm — to help him.

Dawn Parsons, Gardner's private attorney from Kansas City, argued Tuesday that Gardner's lawsuit should proceed because it argues how the state's nepotism ban applies to Carmody's appointment. Parsons said Carmody’s criticisms in court Tuesday that Gardner’s office has tried to impede his investigation are irrelevant to his motion to dismiss the suit.

Gardner filed suit in May in St. Louis Circuit Court, after the state's high court rejected a similar petition. Her suit claims Carmody's appointment makes him a public employee, and therefore his decision to assign his children instead of some 50 other lawyers in his firm violates the state constitution's ban on nepotism.

Carmody led the investigation into William Don Tisaby, a former FBI agent indicted in June on charges of perjury and evidence tampering. Carmody's investigation into Gardner's office continues, underscoring why Gardner may want Carmody disqualified.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Joan Moriarty made no ruling Tuesday.

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