Panel rules Soros-backed prosecutor violated multiple ethics rules in pursuit of ex-Gov. Greitens
Missouri panel rules Kimberly Gardner should receive public reprimand for withholding exculpatory evidence, failing to correct false filing.
In an extraordinary rebuke to a prosecutor, a Missouri legal disciplinary panel on Tuesday concluded St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner violated multiple legal ethics rules in her failed pursuit of a criminal case against ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens in 2018.
The panel ruled Gardner, whose campaign for St. Louis' chief prosecutor job was bankrolled by liberal mega-donor George Soros, should receive a public remand for transgressions that included withholding exculpatory evidence from Greitens' defense and failing to correct a false court filing.
The recommendation, which follows a deal between Gardner and the lawyers disciplinary counsel, now heads to the Missouri Supreme Court. You can read the full ruling here.
The panel ruled that Gardner's misconduct caused unnecessary expense to the defendant and taxpayers before she dropped charges in 2018 against the GOP governor, admitting she did not have evidence to prove them.
By the time Gardner dropped the case alleging Greitens had tried to blackmail a mistress with a cell phone photo -- which prosecutors never had and which the witness said may have been an allegation she dreamed up --he had already resigned office.
The withdrawn prosecution halted the fast-rising career of the Navy SEAL turned GOP governor. Greitens is mounting a comeback and is leading in the GOP race for U.S. Senate in Missouri.
"The defendant in the criminal prosecution likely incurred substantial legal fees to compel discovery of evidence that should have been voluntarily produced by Respondent and/or her Office," the panel ruled. Similarly, taxpayer dollars were spent responding to claims of discovery malfeasance on the part of Respondent and/or her Office.
"And in the wake of Respondent's non-production, already thinly stretched judicial resources were expended to hold several hearings, review motions and pleadings, and issue orders and rulings, all pertaining to documents and evidence that should have been voluntarily produced," the panel added.
The panel said a mitigating factor in not seeking a more serious penalty was that Gardner dropped the case before Greitens was convicted. "The charges against defendant were ultimately dismissed; thus, this was not a situation where a criminal defendant was wrongfully convicted because exculpatory evidence was not provided to his defense."