In an extraordinary turnabout, a George Soros-backed prosecutor in St. Louis was ordered Tuesday to face a professional disciplinary hearing over her conduct in pursuing now-withdrawn criminal charges against former Republican Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.
The Missouri Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel found probable cause that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner committed professional misconduct and should face a disciplinary hearing, according to records posted Tuesday evening by the Missouri Office of the Advisory Committee and Legal Ethics Counsel.
The proceeding now goes to a disciplinary hearing panel for decision on a possible penalty, which would then be imposed by the Missouri Supreme Court. Gardner will be able to defend herself at the hearing.
"All disciplinary hearing panel cases are filed with the Supreme Court of Missouri unless they are dismissed at the disciplinary hearing panel level or if the disciplinary hearing panel administers a written admonition that is accepted by the Chief Disciplinary Counsel and the Respondent," according to the state's rules.
Discipline can range from admonishment to the revocation of Gardner's law license. The order was based on a complaint filed by Greitens' attorneys more than a year ago. Greitens recently announced he is planning a political comeback, running for the open Senate seat in Missouri.
The supporting findings and complaint of the disciplinary counsel against Gardner were not immediately made public, and Just the News filed a request Tuesday evening with the disciplinary office to release those records.
The order Tuesday is the latest fallout from the decision by Gardner, a Democrat, to file criminal charges against Greitens, a Republican, in 2018 alleging that he used a cell phone picture of a girlfriend to make extortion threats.
Gardner was forced to withdraw the charges after admitting she did not have the evidence to substantiate them, leading to a dismissal of the case. But by that time, Greitens had been forced to step down, as chronicled by a Just the News investigation last year.
Gardner was among the first local prosecutors to be funded heavily by liberal megadonor George Soros' Missouri Justice & Public Safety PAC, becoming St. Louis' first black chief prosecutor in 2016. Soon, she would be mired in controversy over her confrontations with police over reform, her failed prosecution of Greitens and her recent efforts to charge a St. Louis couple with gun brandishing during last summer's protests.
She easily won reelection last year, but her legal troubles have are far from over. Her former chief investigator in the Greitens case, a former FBI agent named William Tisaby, has been indicted on seven felonies for misconduct in the prosecution and is awaiting trial. And Gardner herself is being investigated by a special prosecutor for her handling of the Greitens case.