Missouri Supreme Court sides with John Solomon in Sunshine Law case against St. Louis prosecutor
"The Missouri voters and the American public deserve to know what went on in this case, and we now have an opportunity to tell them the facts," said the editor-in-chief of Just the News.
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The Missouri Supreme Court ordered on Friday that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner comply with a public records request from Just the News Editor-in-Chief John Solomon regarding the prosecution of former Gov. Eric Greitens.
Solomon filed a public records request in July 2019 under Missouri's Sunshine Law for about two and a half years' worth of communications between Gardner's office and the Missouri Workforce Housing Association, state Representatives Stacy Newman and Jay Barnes, along with several other groups and individuals.
Gardner is one of the first big-city district attorneys bankrolled by liberal megadonor Soros.
The public records request sought documents related to Gardner's fizzled 2018 prosecution of Greitens, who resigned from the governorship less than two years into his term.
The prosecutor accused Greitens of felony invasion of privacy for allegedly threatening to release a photo of his partially nude girlfriend if she talked about their affair. However, Gardner had to drop the case after admitting she lacked the alleged photo and facing the prospect of being called as a witness in the case by Greteins' lawyers.
Initially, Gardner ignored the public records request and then claimed that the documents did not fall under the state's Sunshine Law. Solomon's suit alleged that Gardner's refusal was a knowing violation of the law and sought release of the records, civil penalties and attorneys' fees.
The state Supreme Court refused to hear Gardner's final appeal on Thursday. On Friday, the court sent the case back to trial court, while ordering that her office produce the requested records within 30 days. The court also ordered that Solomon be paid attorney's fees and costs for the appeal.
"I am grateful for the Missouri Supreme Court for ruling that the public interest should prevail here," Solomon said in a statement. "The Missouri voters and the American public deserve to know what went on in this case, and we now have an opportunity to tell them the facts. A special thanks to Southeastern Legal Foundation for its incredible work on this. We look forward to making all the information we want in this case public as soon as it's delivered by Ms. Gardner's office."
Kimberly Hermann, general counsel for the Southeastern Legal Foundation, told Just the News: "Today is a great day for public transparency. We have been fighting alongside John Solomon for nearly three years to obtain public records showing Kimberly Gardner's communications with liberal megadonor George Soros. Gardner has exhausted her appeals and our legal win is now final. We look forward to receiving all of the records and releasing them to the public."
On Monday, Gardner will face a disciplinary hearing on charges of ethics violations committed in her investigation of Greitens.
Last spring, Missouri's chief legal disciplinary counsel accused Gardner of misconduct during her prosecution of the former governor, including allegations that she lied to judges in court filings and testimony, withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense, misled her own prosecution team, and violated the constitutional right to a fair trial.
According to a 73-page memo by Chief Disciplinary Counsel Alan Pratzel, Gardner allegedly engaged in 62 acts of misconduct that resulted in 79 false representations during her prosecution of Greitens.
On March 23, Gardner's chief investigator for the Greitens prosecution, ex-FBI agent William Tisaby, pled guilty to one count of misdemeanor evidence tampering and was sentenced to probation, which was immediately suspended.
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