Attorneys for Gov. Eric Greitens want to get his felony invasion of privacy case tried as soon as possible.
His defense team told St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison on Monday they plan to file a motion to move the trial date to April 3, from its current date of May 14. They are also planning to ask that Burlison hear the case, rather than have it go before a jury.
“The governor is innocent and is entitled to have his case heard and get it over with. We’re ready to go, and the state should be, too. It’s going to be a brief trial,” said Edward Dowd, a member of the Greitens legal team. “There’s been a lot of publicity by people not even involved in the case, with a lot of false allegations, and I think we might be better off with a judge.”
Greitens is accused of taking a semi-nude photo of his then-mistress back in 2015 and transmitting the photo so it could be accessed by a computer. He has pleaded not guilty. So far, the photo in question has not been turned over to defense attorneys.
Susan Ryan, a spokeswoman for circuit attorney Kim Gardner, said Gardner opposed any attempt to have Burlison hear the case rather than a jury.
“The circuit attorney believes that the citizens of St. Louis should have the ability to review the evidence and make a decision,” she said.
This is not the first time Greitens’ legal team has moved to speed up the case. When prosecutors originally charged the governor back in February, they asked for a trial date in the fall. Burlison later set the May 14 date — which, if it stands, would also be the start of the final week of the General Assembly’s 2018 session.
Also on Monday, defense attorneys filed a motion to disqualify Ronald S. Sullivan, a Harvard law professor who joined the prosecution March 5 and has referred to himself as a special prosecutor in court documents.
Special prosecutors are only allowed in cases where the circuit attorney has a conflict of interest, Jim Bennett wrote in the brief, and are named by the court, not by the prosecutor. State law also makes it a misdemeanor for a special prosecutor to simultaneously represent clients as a defense attorney.
Ryan said Sullivan is serving as an assistant circuit attorney, not a special prosecutor, despite his use of that title. And his criminal defense clients are in federal court in Connecticut, she said, which presents no conflict of interest.
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