Prosecutor drops privacy invasion charge against Missouri governor after jury selection begins

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens

By late afternoon, the case had collapsed.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is calling the decision to drop a criminal charge against him "a great victory that has been a longtime coming". Investigators claimed he had taken a revealing photo of a woman with whom he has acknowledged having an affair. But even if they do not, the governor's legal troubles - separate from the possibility of impeachment - are far from over. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner's office indicated on Monday that she was dropping the charge but it would be refiled, report the Washington Post, Courthouse News Service and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Greitens' attorneys have criticized Gardner's handling of the case, particularly her hiring of private investigator William Tisaby, who Greitens' lawyers have accused of perjury.

In a biting statement, Gardner's office said that the judge's ruling put her in an "impossible position" in which she would be subject to cross-examination by her own subordinates. "Therefore, the court has left the circuit attorney with no other legal option than to dismiss and refile this matter".

The Missouri House of Representatives and Senate also is set to hold a monthlong special session to consider impeaching Greitens. If accepted, the timeline would require the House investigative committee to release a list of issues it plans to address by May 18.

"This misconduct must be investigated", Dowd said in the statement.

St. Louis police have launched an investigation into the way the city prosecutor's office handled the felony invasion-of-privacy case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Even without those unforced errors, prosecutors had a hard path towards securing a guilty verdict. The affair happened in March 2015, before Greitens was elected governor. The judge barred testimony from three expert witnesses for the prosecution, including two electrical engineers who could speak to the technical issues regarding the photo's potential transmission, and a law professor slated to testify about revenge pornography. It was dismissed because there was no evidence of any crime.

Prosecutors abruptly dropped a felony invasion-of-privacy charge against the governor Monday. The special prosecutor, who would most likely be based in another Missouri county, would have 27 days from Monday to re-file the charges before the statute of limitations expires, according to the Kansas City Star.

A Gardner spokeswoman says a decision will be made later on how to proceed.

Ryan did not immediately return TPM's request for comment on whether the computer tampering case, which legal experts have argued is much stronger, will also be assigned to a special prosecutor.

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