‘100 percent innocent;’ Tisaby’s lawyer suggests charges may be racially motivated
This story has been updated to reflect Tisaby’s not guilty plea and requests for comment from various parties in the case.
ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- An investigator hired by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney to work the criminal cases against former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens last year has been charged with crimes stemming from that investigation.
News 4 has learned that William Don Tisaby has been charged with six counts of perjury and one count of tampering with physical evidence.
His attorney, Jermaine Wooten, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Tisaby appeared before a judge Monday and was released without having to pay bond.
This is the latest in a series of ripple effects caused by the dismissed criminal cases against Greitens.
In January, News 4 learned a special grand jury is investigating whether a key witness in the case lied under oath.
During the case, Greitens’ attorneys claimed Tisaby had lied under oath, and that the Circuit Attorney’s office had failed to turn over key documents.
One key piece of evidence, they said, was a videotaped interview that Tisaby conducted of the victim in the case.
The Circuit Attorney’s Office first claimed it had malfunctioned, but later turned it over before trial.
In depositions, Tisaby had claimed he did not take notes, but the video showed him taking notes.
Tisaby had also said he didn’t ask any questions, when in fact, the indictment says he’d asked close to 150 questions.
Charges against Greitens were dropped, after it became clear Circuit Attorney Gardner herself would have to testify about Tisaby’s actions.
Fast forward a year and after a special grand jury investigated, they produced this indictment.
It alleges that Tisaby did lie a number of times in depositions.
It also claims he suppressed or concealed several documents during the case.
The indictment says those things could have substantially affected or did substantially affect the course or outcome of the case.
What’s more, the indictment claims Gardner did not correct Tisaby’s lies and that she did not report them to the police.
Tuesday, Tisaby’s lawyers and community leaders held a press conference to assert Tisaby’s claims of innocence.
Wooten said, steadfastly, the former FBI agent did nothing wrong, and suggested the charges - and ongoing investigation into the Circuit Attorney’s Office - could at least in part be racially motivated.
“We have one position: he’s innocent. He’s not only not guilty, but he’s absolutely 100 percent innocent of these charges,” he said. “I believe the community in St. Louis has spoken. They believe this is racially motivated and historically, if Jennifer Joyce was in office, could you imagine Jennifer Joyce or any of her investigators going through such a thing? Absolutely not.”
Wooten was also emphatic the defense had no intention to take a plea deal of any kind, vowing to the take the case to trial.
NAACP officials were also on hand to declare support for Tisaby, and St. Louis president Adolphus Pruitt called for a lift on the gag order so the ongoing investigation is more transparent.
“If the courts want to prove us wrong, if they want to open this up to the community, let’s be more transparent. We have all this press here. Lift the gag order and allow the press to get deep inside this,” Pruitt said. “We don’t have any faith in the police department, the system or the courts, because if they can allow that to happen that can happen to anyone here,” he said.
“Where can you go to threaten the prosecutor while prosecuting a case and it’s not investigated or taken seriously?” Pruitt said during the press conference.
Scott Rosenblum, who was one of several attorneys who represented Greitens, told News 4 that Tisaby’s actions did affect the case.
“We would have been in a better position to have the case exposed to the jury for what it was, a ridiculously pathetic case,” Rosenblum said.
He believes the Greitens would still be governor, had Gardner not pursued the prosecution in the first place.
Greitens resigned the office, though he maintained his innocence.
The Circuit Attorney’s Office also declined to comment, as did a special prosecutor on the case.
Supporters of the Circuit Attorney, though, have been very critical of this entire investigation, claiming the prosecutor is being unfairly targeted.
Tisaby was released without having to pay bond. His next court date is set for August 15th.
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