Crime

Greitens' lawyers accuse prosecutors of withholding evidence that contradicts report

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' attorneys accused prosecutors of misconduct Thursday in an effort to dismiss the criminal case against the governor a day after a legislative report raised new allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

The bombshell report from a bipartisan committee includes the allegations that Greitens coerced a woman into giving him oral sex and struck her on three occasions. This follows the allegation at the center of the criminal case that the governor photographed the woman, semi-nude and with her hands bound, to keep her from speaking about their extramarital affair.

Defense attorneys accused the St. Louis circuit attorney's office office of withholding evidence, specifically a taped interview of the alleged victim and notes from investigator William Don Tisaby, who was hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.

Jim Martin, one of Greitens’ attorneys, said the interview of the woman tells a different story than the House report.

Martin said the woman said in the interview that the relationship was consensual and that her friends initially didn’t remember being told of a slap.

She also testified that she was aroused during her encounter with Greitens, Martin said.

“The tape tells an entirely different story about (her) interactions with the governor," Martin said. He added that the taped interview “greatly undercuts her credibility.”

Prosecutors said the tape of the deposition initially malfunctioned and that the first 15 to 20 minutes had no audio. They said that when they discovered the audio worked later in the two-hour interview, they turned it over to the defense counsel within the allowed 48-hour period.

Defense attorneys received the tape on Wednesday.

Robert Steele, one of the prosecutors in the case, said notes from Tisaby and the interview do not change the elements of the case.

“Whether she was aroused was not relevant to the charge,” Steele said. “The elements of the case stay the same.”

Greitens is accused of taking a photograph of the woman without her consent in 2015, a year before he was elected governor.

Steele said the alleged photo was “taken in a place where she has an expectation of privacy. It wouldn’t have changed the indictment.”

Greitens has admitted to the affair but has denied using a photograph for blackmail. His trial is scheduled to begin on May 14 in St. Louis.

A defiant Greitens ignored calls to resign during a news conference on Wednesday in which he called the criminal charge, as well as the investigation in the legislature, a political witch hunt.

Legislators plan to call a special session to decide whether to impeach the governor.

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