The chief prosecutor and Circuit Attorney for St. Louis, Kimberly Gardner, lost a major legal battle on Monday after a judge blocked her attempt to conceal documents that may reveal the nefarious measures she took to baselessly incriminate former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.
Marking the end of nearly 2 -and-a-half year litigation, St. Louis Circuit Judge Christopher McGraugh warned Gardner’s office is “reckless” and “dilatory” for failing to respond to a lawsuit alleging violation of Missouri’s open records law.
As the Gateway Pundit has previously reported, Gardner, a George Soros funded prosecutor, is under active criminal investigation for her alleged illegal efforts to prosecute Greitens in 2018, an endeavor that led to the rising Republican star’s resignation.
In July 2019, award-winning investigative journalist and founder of the publication Just the News John Solomon submitted a “sunshine law” request to obtain and publicly disclose all communications between Gardner, her staff and associates.
Like the Freedom of Information Act, Missouri’s “sunshine law” regulations require disclosure in government or business, an inspection of meetings, records, votes, deliberation and other official actions. Under the law, exemptions from disclosing public records must be “strictly construed” to promote a public policy of transparency.
“The query sought the release of roughly two-and-a-half years’ worth of communications between Gardner, her staff, and numerous individuals such as George Soros, the Missouri Workforce Housing Association, state Representatives Stacy Newman and Jay Barnes, and others,” Just News reports.
Gardner refused to comply.
She initially ignored the summons in June and July while a lawyer for her office filed motions to dismiss Solomon’s suit claiming the office’s custodian of records never received Solomon’s records request.
Gardner then insisted the documents were not subject to the sunshine statute, contending Solomon’s “sole basis for asserting Respondents violated the Missouri Sunshine Law arise from his mistaken belief that he is entitled to documents that are privileged or constitute attorney work product, and are closed records …”
But Solomon and his legal team, Southeastern Legal Foundation and the Freedom Center of Missouri shot back, contending in a filing in April that her claims of the documents being exempt were malarkey, a brazen attempt to conceal damning evidence by flouting the law and a deliberate violation of the provision.
The circuit attorney’s refusal to turn over the documents additionally warrants a several thousand dollar penalty for damages pursuant to state statute, Solomon’s team maintained.
Judge McGraugh ruled in agreement with Solomon on Monday and signed an order charging Gardner with “reckless, dilatory and intentional refusal to timely file a responsive pleading” in Solomon’s lawsuit, despite having been allowed an additional 30 days to comply.
Gardner may potentially be mandated to pay Solomon’s legal fees following the judge’s final judgment.
Solomon’s attorney of the Freedom Center of Missouri, Dave Roland, issued a statement Tuesday repudiating Gardner’s contempt for the rule of law.
McGraugh’s ruling confirms “these were knowing and purposeful violations” of the Sunshine Law, he told the St. Louis Post Dispatch. “They have pulled out every stop to avoid acknowledging whether or not the documents actually exist. Their refusal to even answer the lawsuit just blows my mind. I can’t imagine what might be in these records that would be so damaging, so damning that it’s worth what they’re doing to try and obscure them. I’m completely mystified.”
Gardner was irrefutably aware of all stipulations that constitute Missouri’s sunshine provision, shamelessly thumbed her nose at the law, SLF’s General Counsel Kimberly Hermann asserts.
The Democratic Circuit Attorney is “responsible not only for knowing the law, but for making sure it is applied fairly and properly,” she said. “It is unconscionable that a prosecuting attorney would directly disobey not only the Sunshine Law, but also a direct court order.”
In January 2018, Greiten’s ex-girlfriend and Gardner secretly met in a hotel room.
Following the meeting, in February 2018 Gardner charged Greitens with invasion of privacy, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison in Missouri. Gardner alleged the governor had taken nude a photograph of Sneed without her consent and threatened to use the photo for blackmail.
Greitens denied the allegations and Gardner never produced any evidence.
When questioned under oath to corroborate the charges, Sneed admitted she might have been remembering her accusations, the heart of the criminal case, “through a dream.” In subsequent testimony, she claimed she had never seen the photograph Greitens allegedly had taken of her and that she saw him with no phone or camera to take the photograph.
In the course of pursuing charges against Greitens, Gardner hired former FBI agent William Tisaby to interview Sneed. Tisaby falsely claimed during a sworn deposition that he did not take notes during his nearly 2-hour interview with Sneed, that he asked her no questions, and that the video he recorded during the interview malfunctioned.
Under oath, Sneed affirmed his statements, claiming Tisaby’s videotape malfunctioned, that she could not remember whether he took notes and insisted that he asked no questions during the interview.
William Tisaby has been charged with seven felonies for perjury and evidence tampering in the former Republican governor’s case, Sneed has yet to face perjury charges, while Gardner remains under active criminal investigation for her alleged abuse and politicization of the justice system.