Judge orders special prosecutor in Greitens invasion of privacy case

In this Wednesday, May 16, 2018, photo, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner poses for a photo in her office in St. Louis. (Credit: AP / Jim Salter)

The computer tampering charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was dropped in exchange for his resignation.

A Circuit Attorney spokesperson said the governor's defense team approached prosecutors over the weekend about a deal.

"No, I'm not saying that resigning was the best thing, but if he had to resign the best thing for him was to make sure we could eliminate all these silly matters," said Jim Martin, a member of Greitens' legal team.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced the felony computer tampering case against Greitens was dropped Wednesday morning.

In the stipulation for dismissal court document, the fifth item states:The Circuit Attorney hereby dismisses the charges in 22nd Cir. No. 1822-CR01377 pursuant to Section 56,087, RSMo. The Circuit Attorney further stipulates that, upon receipt of the defendant's resignation from office by the Secretary of State of Missouri, the Court may dismiss No. 1822-CR01377 with prejudice. Click here to read the entire Stipulation for Dismissal

News 4 at 10 p.m. reported the charge would be dropped Tuesday night, hours after Gardner stated a “fair and just resolution of the pending charges” had been reached. “Contrary to Mr. Greitens’ past statements, there was no witch hunt. No plans to bring pain to him or his family,” Gardner said in a Wednesday morning press conference. “Quite the contrary, the consequences Mr. Greitens has suffered he brought upon himself by his actions. By his statements. By his decisions. By his ambition. And his pursuit for power.”Gardner said her decision to charge Greitens was based on facts and available evidence. She continued by stating that pursuing the felony computer tampering case is not the right thing but that she wants residents to have confidence in the criminal justice system.

“Sometimes pursuing charges is not the right or just thing to do for our city or state. Just as I believe Mr. Greitens’ decision to resign is best for our state, I have to consider the totality of the situation," Gardner said in a Wednesday morning press conference.

Gardner went on to state that if Greitens was convicted of the charge it’s unlikely he would be sentenced to prison given his first-time offender status and the level of the charge.

“While I cannot force Mr. Greitens to take personal accountability for his actions, there are things that I can do. I can reject Mr. Greitens’ shameful, divisive, personal attacks. I can reject his dangerous and false rhetoric about the criminal justice system and the rule of law. I can clarify for the public that there was no coordinated effort by anyone to target him based upon his politics, whether it was his actions.”

According to Gardner, the case did not cost taxpayers any more than the current budget allocation. She also said the case was not pursued at the expense of her office's other priorities.

Gardner ended her press conference by stating: "Now it’s time for all of us to come together. It’s time to heal the wounds of our city and state and focus on building a place where people feel they are heard. Where victims, regardless of their station in life, know that we will do what is right regardless of the powers against them. Now, we must come together to create a place where people can thrive. Where we can work together with one another for the benefit of our city and state."

Greitens announced his resignation on Tuesday. He is facing numerous accusations, including campaign finance wrongdoing and he is also accused of taking a photo of his mistress in a compromising position and threatening to share the photo if she spoke about the affair.

Gardner’s office charged Greitens with invasion of privacy in connection with the affair. She later dropped the charges and the investigation is being now being handled by the Jackson County prosecutor, who released the following statement:In an earlier statement, I said that my office will not comment about the case involving Governor Greitens or its review until our Office’s work had been completed. Given today’s events, however, we believe that a brief statement is needed.

In short, our investigation continues. In the interest of pursing justice to its fullest lengths, we will continue until our work on the case is completed.

Specifically, regarding any deals we made with Governor Greitens’ attorneys, no deals were made by my office. Our review of this case, as I have stated before, will be pursued without fear or favor.

My office will not make any further comments on this case.He is also facing charges for allegedly using a donor list from the charity he founded, the Mission Continues, for political fundraising.

Greitens has denied legal wrongdoing.

Gardner’s office released the following statement:Today, Governor Eric Greitens announced his resignation as Missouri’s Governor.

The last several months have been difficult for all Missourians, not just those of us embroiled in these legal matters. In January, I opened an investigation in search of the truth. I believe it is essential for residents of the City of St. Louis and our state to have confidence in their leaders. I know my decision to charge Mr. Greitens in February and March with two felonies was met with both praise and criticism. As a prosecutor, my decisions must be based upon facts and evidence, regardless of the position or power of the accused. While that may have been unpopular at times, that’s my job.

I have been in contact with the Governor’s defense team over the past several days. We have reached a fair and just resolution of the pending charges. We will provide more information tomorrow.

I want to thank the individuals who have cooperated with these investigations over the past few months in our search for the truth, particularly those who were willing to stand up to power regardless of how stormy some days were.Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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