KMOV employees among witnesses in Greitens case

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens seen in a mugshot on February 22, 2018. (Credit: St. Louis Police Department)

Update: In court on Monday, March 26, Judge Rex Burlison denied Governor Greitens' request for a bench trial. The judge ruled the trial, which is set to begin on May 14, will be heard by a jury.

*Previous Story below*

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A date has been set for jury selection but we still don't know if a jury will hear the invasion of privacy charge against Governor Eric Greitens.

It's an issue that could be decided on Monday. The Governor's defense staff has indicated they may want to seek a bench trial.

Leaving court Wednesday, Ed Dowd, an attorney for the Governor explained why they want a judge to render a verdict in the case against Governor Greitens, instead of a jury.

“There has been a lot of pre-trial publicity, a lot of negative comments made, so we think a judge can wade through that,” Dowd said.

The governor is set for trial on May 14 for the charge of felony invasion of privacy.

Former prosecutor-turned defense attorney Kristi Flint says the fact that St. Louis often votes Democrat might be another reason the defense would want to waive a jury trial.

Those jurors are registered voters so that's the pool that would be available for this trial. But under Missouri law, the governor doesn't get to make the call.

While the US Constitution gives defendants the right to a jury trial, each state has their own laws about whether someone can waive that right.

In Missouri, under Rule 27, the judge must agree to the trial by the bench. The judge may say they don't want to be the one to decide the facts.

"It could be because they don't feel like it!" Flint said.

More likely, though, Flint says the decision might be about appearances.

For example, the judge in this case, Judge Rex Burlison, was appointed by former Governor Jay Nixon, who now works at the very firm representing Governor Greitens.

Flint says Judge Burlison might consider how his verdict would be perceived.

"There could be backlash or condemnation, was this based on the facts or a political move," Flint said.

In court Wednesday, Judge Burlison did not make a ruling about the trial.

But he did say: "I would suggest all parties assume this is a trial by jury."

The prosecution wants a jury to hear the case. The judge can take that into account, but in Missouri, the state doesn't get an official say in the matter.

The issue, along with others, will be heard Monday morning.

News 4 Investigates

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