ST. LOUIS - Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ legal problems were the subject of two hearings across the state Thursday. An attorney for the governor appeared in the Cole County Courthouse to ask a judge to remove Attorney General Josh Hawley from one of Greitens’ felony cases and appoint a special prosecutor.
Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem presided.
Greitens’ lawyer, James Bennett, said the attorney general should be removed from investigating a case involving fundraising because Hawley is not objective. He said Hawley recently said the governor should resign from office. The attorney said Hawley declared there may be grounds for impeachment and he’s made those comments publicly.
“That attempt to bring disrepute or heighten pubic condemnation of the accused,” Bennett said
Bennett also said politics may be at play because Hawley is running for the U.S. Senate.
“We have to get the politics out of each people’s individual liberties,” he said.
The governor is being investigated and facing a felony charge concerning the charity he founded, The Mission Continues, which helps troops returning home. Greitens is charged with tampering with a computer by using the charity’s donor list to raise money for his own election campaign.
Jon Sauer, the lawyer representing the attorney general, said when Hawley announced the governor should resign, it had nothing to do with the fundraising case.
“When the attorney general made the public statement calling on the governor to resign he made clear he was reacting to reports of the sexual misconduct,” he said.
Sauer said Hawley’s involvement is not about politics and that Hawley was doing his job.
“The attorney general has shown leadership and courage,” Sauer said.
As of late Thursday afternoon, the judge had not ruled on Greitens’ request.
In St. Louis there was yet another pre-trial meeting in the governor’s invasion of privacy case.
The governor is accused of invasion of privacy concerning a picture taken of his partially clothed mistress and transmitting it illegally. Prosecution investigator William DonTisaby was hired to look into the case.
Since then the defense has claimed Tisaby lied under oath multiple times. He was to be deposed by the defense again Thursday, but he had just hired a new attorney and asked for a delay. The judge said no way. Tisaby’s deposition went nowhere, lawyers said he took the Fifth to avoid incriminating himself more than 50 times. One of Greitens lawyers said Tisaby has infected the case and everything he’s touched.
Meanwhile the judge also ruled Greitens’ defense team cannot depose Roy Temple, the former head of Missouri’s Democrat Party, concerning the money trail of the mysterious $100,000 dropped off at attorney Al Watkins office that may be used to pay for a person Watkins represents in the Greitens’ case. Temple’s attorney has said Temple has no knowledge of the money.