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Judge blasts Soros-funded St. Louis prosecutor, says 'recklessly impeded' open records case

Just the News CEO John Solomon's is seeking records under the Sunshine Law about prosecutor Kimberly Gardner's bungled prosecution of former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

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Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri in 2012
Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri in 2012
(Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Updated: November 4, 2020 - 5:54pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A Missouri judge refused Wednesday to set aside a default judgement against St. Louis' chief prosecutor, ruling her office improperly thwarted an open-records lawsuit from Just the News seeking evidence from the bungled 2018 prosecution of former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

"The Court finds that Defendant's conduct in this case has recklessly impeded the judicial process," Judge Christopher McGraugh of the Missouri 22nd Judicial Circuit Court concluded. 

The judge ordered St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner's office to produce records in the Greitens case to him to review for possible release to the news organization, and to compile a complete list that identifies all responsive documents and an explanation why prosecutors wanted to keep the information from Just the News. 

He also denied Just the News' motion to hold the Circuit Attorney in civil contempt for failing obey an earlier court order to supply records under Missouri's Sunshine Law.

The case involves two Just the News personalities: Editor in Chief John Solomon is the lead plaintiff, while the records involve a now-dismissed case involving Greitens, who is currently a TV anchor for the news organization.

Gardner, who has received extensive election funding from a political group created by liberal megadonor George Soros,  became St. Louis' first African-American chief prosecutor in 2016. She has drawn criticism for her handling of the Greitens case and the recent prosecution of a couple she accused of brandishing guns while protecting their Missouri home from protesters this past summer.

Solomon is pursuing documents from the 2018 prosecution of Greitens, a Republican who was forced to resign as governor after Gardner accused him of extorting a girlfriend with photos. The prosecutor, however, had to drop the case after admitting she didn't have the photo or other evidence to sustain the charges. Her former chief investigator has been charged with misconduct during the investigation and awaits trial. The case was featured in an investigative expose in Just the News last spring.

Solomon is pursuing "all records of contacts between Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner and her staff with the following individuals and entities from Jan. 6, 2017 through July 3, 2019: Scott Faughn; Al Watkins; Jeffrey E. Smith; JES Holdings LLC; Jeff Smith; The Missouri Workforce Housing Association; George Soros; Michael Vachon; Soros Fund Management; The Safety and Justice PAC; Open Society Foundation; Scott Simpson; Katrina Sneed; Phil Sneed; State Rep. Stacy Newman; State Rep. Jay Barnes."

"We are grateful for the judge’s order and remain determined to free these important files so that the public can have a more complete understanding of why this prosecutor’s office brought and then dropped such a high profile criminal case," Solomon said.

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