A House committee looking into the conduct of Gov. Eric Greitens will release its report to the public next week.
This comes as the committee is approaching a Sunday deadline to finish its work, which some of Greitens’ attorneys wanted to move.
Greitens was indicted in February on a felony charge of taking a semi-nude photo of his then-mistress without her consent. Soon afterward, House Speaker Todd Richardson created a committee to look into the allegations — a group of primarily Republican legislators that could potentially recommend impeachment.
The committee planned to turn over its findings by Sunday, though it could ask for an extension. The committee’s chairman, Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said in a statement Thursday that the report will be released next week.
Richardson added in a statement: “When the committee finalizes its report, we will release it to the public.”
Richardson did not hold a regular Thursday media availability. House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, though, told reporters that “she was confident the special committee’s report will not be released on Monday.” McCann Beatty said she talked with Richardson about that topic.
“What I don’t know is when it’s going to be released,” said McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City. “It is concerning. We have a deadline. Rep. Barnes has been promising that we would see a report on Monday. I have not been told why there’s a delay. So I’m not really sure if there’s a problem or what the situation is.
“We passed a resolution that said it needs be presented, and we need to follow that resolution,” she added.
Requests to delay
Richardson and Barnes’ comments come after Greitens’ attorneys, and a former St. Louis judge, asked for an extension in releasing the report.
The Kansas City Star reported earlier this week that several private- and public-sector attorneys representing Greitens feared that releasing the report before the May 14 trial starts would taint the jury pool. The letter also stated that Greitens would be willing to testify before the committee after the trial, but added “the court’s restrictions on what information can and cannot be released make it impossible for the Governor to provide what the Committee needs to complete its work.”
And in a letter sent to a number of legislators on the committee, former St. Louis Circuit Judge Thomas Frawley urged “you and your colleagues to withhold issuing the Committee's report until Governor Greitens' trial has concluded.”
“With the media coverage the criminal charges against Governor Greitens has already received, finding twelve St. Louis City residents who can determine whether Governor Greitens committed a criminal act based solely on the evidence presented in court will be extremely difficult,” wrote Frawley, who retired from the bench in 2017. “In my opinion, release of the Committee's report at this time or at any time prior to conclusion of Governor Greitens' criminal trial will seriously jeopardize the right of Governor Greitens, as well as the State, to a fair and impartial jury.”
Asked about efforts to delay release of the report, McCann Beatty said: “I know the governor was trying to get it stopped, saying it could have an impact on his criminal trial.”
“But the reality is the governor spent $50,000 on commercials,” McCann Beatty said. “He’s already out there tainting the jury. So I don’t see that our report coming out at this point does anything more than what he’s already doing.”
McCann Beatty was alluding to radio ads that contended that “liberals are hell-bent” on stopping Greitens’ agenda. But some Republicans have been the most vocal calling for Greitens to step down. Democrats have largely refrained from asking for his resignation, either because they want to use him a political punching bag in this year’s elections — or they fear that Lt. Gov. Mike Parson would hurt the party’s interests if he takes over.
Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallGReport