Missouri AG fires Soros-backed St. Louis prosecutor Gardner for missteps

"Instead of protecting victims, Circuit Attorney Gardner is creating them," the Missouri attorney general said. 

Published: February 23, 2023 9:00am

Updated: February 23, 2023 1:44pm

Missouri Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey on Thursday fired St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner for missteps, after she refused to accept his ultimatum to resign by noon.

Bailey issued his ultimatum Wednesday evening after 16-year-old volleyball player Janae Edmonson was visiting St. Louis with her team over the weekend when she was hit by a speeding vehicle and lost both of her legs.

He fired Gardner by initiating "quo warranto" proceedings to remove Gardner after she failed to meet his deadline. The writ requires people to whom it is directed to show what authority they have for exercising some right, power or franchise they claim to hold.

The driver in the weekend accident, Daniel Riley, "is a dangerous gunman who should have been in jail," Bailey said. The suspect was charged in 2020 in connection to stealing a firearm at gunpoint, and since that time he has violated his bond conditions more than 100 times and he never even had a driver's license, local outlet KMOV reported.

"Instead of protecting victims, Circuit Attorney Gardner is creating them," the Missouri attorney general said. "This is the latest in a long pattern of brazen neglect. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney has a long history of failure to prosecute violent crime, with a backlog of at least 3,000 cases."

Gardner, a Democrat whose campaign was supported by contributions from megadonor George Soros, was accused of "disturbing and unethical" behavior by a grand jury last year after she admitted to prosecutorial misconduct in her case against former Missouri GOP Gov. Eric Greitens.

In April 2022, the Missouri Supreme Court ordered Gardner to comply with a public records request from Just the News Editor-in-Chief John Solomon regarding the prosecution Greitens.

Solomon filed a public records request in July 2019 under the state's Sunshine Law for about two and a half years' worth of communications between Gardner's office and the Missouri Workforce Housing Association, state Reps. Stacy Newman and Jay Barnes, along with several other groups and individuals.

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, then claimed that the documents did not fall under the state's Sunshine Law. Solomon's suit alleged 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 and 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.

Gardner before being fired Thursday was also under fire in 2020 for her case against Mark McCloskey, who came into the spotlight for pointing firearms at protesters outside his home during the Black Lives Matter-related unrest. A judge barred her from prosecuting McCloskey after she used his case to fundraise for her reelection campaign.

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