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Latest filings in Greitens case lay out strategies as trial approaches

The Carnahan Courthouse is one of two courthouses in the 22nd Judicial Circuit, which is the city of St. Louis
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio
New documents filed in the run-up to the felony trial of Gov. Eric Greitens show the legal strategies both sides will be deploying.

Attorneys for Gov. Eric Greitens want a St. Louis circuit judge to throw out almost all the evidence prosecutors have in the felony invasion of privacy case against him.

A computer glitch had kept the documents from being accessed publicly until Wednesday. Reporters were allowed to review them in the courthouse but could not print copies.

Greitens has pleaded not guilty to taking a semi-nude photo of the woman with whom he had an affair back in 2015. The defense again asked Judge Rex Burlison to throw the entire case out before the trial starts, saying there is still no evidence the alleged photo exists.

The defense has also tried to prevent that woman — identified only as K.S. — and one of her friends from testifying at trial because they were interviewed by William Tisaby, a controversial investigator hired by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. Tisaby allegedly made false statements during his initial deposition in April, which prompted Judge Rex Burlison to order a second interview.

Tisaby invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination earlier this week. Greitens’ attorneys said that prevents them from knowing several critical facts, including what other evidence Tisaby might have that could help the governor.

“The inability to cure sanctionable misconduct because Tisaby will not answer any more questions demands the striking and prohibition of the testimony of witnesses that Tisaby has tainted,” the defense wrote, adding that this marked Gardner’s “third strike.”

Greitens’ team also wants to throw out the testimony of three expert witnesses — an out-of-state law professor and two electrical engineers. Gardner hired the engineers to explain how the woman knew the photo was taken in the first place, and that it was then transmitted. But the governor’s attorneys say the electrical engineers aren’t qualified to give the testimony they want to, and therefore shouldn’t be involved in the case. The law professor, they said, has admitted to having no opinion about the case.

The governor’s attorneys have also asked the judge to keep out audio recordings made by K.S.’ ex-husband, which are at the center of a separate controversy. They also want Burlison to prevent the prosecution from calling K.S. a “victim.” She was a willing participant in a consensual extramarital affair, they wrote, and never filed a police report. They also want to be able to refer to all witnesses by their full names.

Prosecutors have asked Burlison to prevent the defense from asking K.S. about past sexual conduct and counseling under Missouri’s rape shield law. Although the law does not cover invasion of privacy, the state wrote, “the very nature of the defendant’s conduct is sexually abusive as a form of involuntary pornography. The case involves conduct of a type that is clearly intended to be covered by the spirit of rape shield.”

Burlison will likely hear arguments on most, if not all, of the requests on Monday. Reporters still have yet to view several documents, including some filed by the state.

Jury selection is set to begin May 10.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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