St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner says she is dropping her office's remaining criminal case against Governor Eric Greitens, one day after the governor announced his resignation
"It is time for us to move on and help the state of Missouri move back to the business of governing," she said in a mid-morning press conference. "I have to consider the totality of the situation. ... I believe the most fair and just way to resolve this situation is to dismiss the computer tampering case."
She said Greitens would be unlikely to face prison time for the case due to his status as a first-time offender. She defended her investigation, saying it did not cost any more than her office's budget allocation. And, she insisted of the two cases she brought against the governor, "These cases were not pursued at the expense of my office's priorities."
On May 15, Gardner stunned observers by dismissing her office's invasion of privacy case against the governor after three days of jury selection
. That case has since been handed off to a special prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker of Jackson County
But while the salacious details of that case dominated headlines — allegations
that a man tapes his hairdresser to a pull-up bar, rips off her clothes and takes a photo of her to ensure her silence tend to have that effect — Gardner's office also charged Greitens with a single count of felony computer tampering on April 20
That allegation stems from an investigation led by the office of Missouri's attorney general, which said it had found probable cause that Greitens had transferred or obtained a donor list from the nonprofit he founded and used it for political gain
. Because the list had a value of more than $500, the transfer was a felony, Attorney General Josh Hawley said.
At this morning's press conference, Gardner said that she faced both praise and criticism for bringing the two cases against Greitens. She defended her actions.
"There was no witch hunt," she said, "no plans to bring pain to Mr. Greitens or his family. Quite the contrary. The consequences Mr. Greitens has suffered, he bought upon himself through his actions, his statements, his decisions, his ambitions and pursuit of power. Many of Mr. Greitens' former colleagues and friends cooperated with our prosecution, not because they were threatened or harassed, but because it was the right thing to do."
She added, "There was no coordinated effort by anyone to target him based upon his politics. Rather, it was his actions."
Baker, the special prosecutor now tasked with looking into the invasion of privacy case, issued a statement last night indicating that her investigation remains active. "In the interest of pursuing justice to its fullest lengths, we will continue until our work on the case is completed," she said.
"I can't comment on what special prosecutor Jean Peters Baker will do," Gardner said at her press conference. "She has complete authority." She did not take questions after reading her statement.
Baker will need to move quickly; the statute of limitations in that case is expected to run in a matter of weeks.
Staff writer Danny Wicentowski contributed to this story
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