Greitens Coverage | St. Louis Public Radio

Greitens Coverage

Gov. Eric Greitens announced in late May that he would resign after facing months of political and legal scandals.

The saga started in January, when KMOV released a recording of a woman saying Greitens took a compromising photo of her during a sexual encounter and threatened to blackmail her.

A St. Louis grand jury indicted Greitens in February on felony invasion of privacy. The woman testified to lawmakers that Greitens sexually and physically abused her, spurring bipartisan calls for his resignation or impeachment.

The invasion of privacy charge was eventually dropped by St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office following a series of prosecutorial missteps before the trial began. Greitens was also accused of illegally obtaining a donor list from the veterans non-profit he co-founded with his political campaign, but that charge, too, was dismissed as part a deal that led to his resignation as governor.

The latest episode of Politically Speaking features St. Louis Public Radio's political team counting down the top stories of the decade.
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Politically speaking, Missouri politics changed dramatically throughout the 2010s.

At the beginning of the decade, the Show-Me State was a place where Democrats dominated in high-stakes statewide contests — while Republicans prevailed in state legislative elections. By the end of 2019, Republicans maintained unprecedented control over Missouri politics.

Gov. Mike Parson
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the 18 months he has been in office, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has acted on just one of over 3,500 clemency cases. 

The Republican governor inherited a decades-old backlog of clemency requests. Some of the cases have been pending for several years, with multiple governors before Parson not taking action.

But Parson doesn’t seem to be in any rush to dive into what can be a politically risky part of the job. He declined to put one man’s execution on hold in October. Beyond that, he hasn’t denied or approved any other clemency applications. 

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner speaks to news reporters on July 11, 2019.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner says she acted appropriately when her office decided in 2018 to charge former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens with a felony.

“I steadfastly maintain that all of my actions were both legal and ethical, pertaining to my investigation or my decision to charge the former governor,” Gardner said Thursday at a news conference where she was surrounded by more than a dozen political and religious supporters. 

Booking photo of William Tisaby June 17, 2019
Provided | St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

Updated at 4 p.m., June 18 with calls from Gardner's supporters to end the gag order on the case. — A former FBI agent hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to help in the criminal investigation of then-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is now facing charges himself.

A grand jury indictment made public on Monday charged William Tisaby with seven felony counts, including multiple perjury charges. His conduct during the investigation was a factor in prosecutors dropping the felony invasion of privacy charge against the governor.

Visitors walk through Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery Tuesday morning to check on the graves of their loved ones. (Feb. 21, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A man who confessed to damaging more than 100 headstones at a Jewish cemetery has been sentenced to three years’ probation.

Alzado M. Harris, 35, of St. Louis County, admitted to knocking down more than 100 gravestones at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the state, in February 2017.

St. Louis Public Radio politics editor Fred Ehrlich (at left) and political reporters Jason Rosenbaum (center) and Jo Mannies (at right) joined host Don Marsh during Thursday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday asked members of the St. Louis Public Radio political team which regional politics story they consider to have been the biggest story of 2018, they were split on their answers.

Reporter Jo Mannies deemed now-former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s loss to then-Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley the top story of the year, but Mannies’ colleague Jason Rosenbaum settled on the saga surrounding former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned in May. Their editor, Fred Ehrlich, ultimately sided with Rosenbaum.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time … and that is the craziest story I’ve covered in my career, and that includes a lot of interesting, complicated stories,” said Ehrlich. “And one of the reasons was that almost every day there was a new twist and turn in it.”

State Rep. Jay Barnes, left, will chair a House committee set up by  House Speaker Todd Richardson, right, to investigate the allegations that led to the indictment of Gov. Eric Greitens.
File photo I House Communications

The Missouri House committee tasked with investigating former Gov. Eric Greitens’ conduct released its final report on Monday — and a renewed a call for action by the state ethics commission.

Supporters listen as U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill delivers a speech after conceding to Attorney General Josh Hawley.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

With a revolutionary year in Missouri politics winding down, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann decided to reflect on what happened and why it matters.

And what better way to do that than a list of the five biggest stories of 2018?

Former Gov. Eric Greitens' fall from office was by far the biggest political story of 2018 in Missouri.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It's fair to say that Missouri politics may not see another year like 2018.

There’s little doubt that the past 12 months were historic, as Missouri saw the fall of a governor — and the election of a new U.S. Senator. This year also brought titanic political shifts throughout the state — as well as locally throughout St. Louis County — that could reverberate for a long time.

Attorney Al Watkins, pictured here walking out of court on May 1, 2018 with his then-attorney Chuck Hatfield, has admitted he violated a gag order in the Eric Greitens case.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

An attorney who represented the ex-husband of the woman at the center of the Eric Greitens trial has admitted that he violated a court order that forbid attorneys in the case from talking about it to reporters.

Al Watkins on Friday apologized to Judge Rex Burlison. He will have to make 100 hours of presentations to outside groups on the importance of complying with court orders and how not doing so can harm the justice system.

The St. Louis Art Museum is one of several St. Louis sites that attract tourists. Hotel occupancy rates in St. Louis decreased slightly from 67.1 percent in 2017 to 66.3 percent this year.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Promoters of Missouri tourism, stung when then-Gov. Eric Greitens cut the state tourism budget in half, are encouraged that his successor wants to restore the funding.

Gov. Mike Parson made it known early in his administration that he wants to promote tourism.

Former Gov. Eric Greitens' fall from office was by far the biggest political story of 2018 in Missouri.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Friday with a response from the attorney general’s office – A non-profit group set up to promote the agenda of then-Gov. Eric Greitens is asking a Cole County judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks records of its activities.

St. Louis-based attorney Elad Gross filed suit in June against A New Missouri. He said he took action after the Missouri House committee that had been investigating the former governor halted its probe after Greitens’ resignation from office. The committee was also seeking records from A New Missouri, including its financing.

Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon returns to Politically Speaking to discuss a multitude of issues, including the state of St. Louis’ education system and the challenges of gubernatorial leadership.

Nixon served as governor from 2009 to 2017. He is one of four men (Mel Carnahan, John Ashcroft and Warren Hearnes) to be elected to two consecutive terms as Missouri’s chief executive. He also was elected to four terms as attorney general and to a Jefferson County-based Senate seat.

David Steelman
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

David Steelman joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to talk about the health of the University of Missouri System, as well as the demise of former Gov. Eric Greitens.

Steelman is a veteran Republican public official who served as a state lawmaker in the 1980s. He’s currently the chairman of the University of Missouri System Board of Curators, which oversees campuses in Columbia, St. Louis, Rolla and Kansas City.

St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is heading into the final weeks of his primary campaign with a hefty financial edge over Democratic rival Mark Mantovani as the two continue their expensive battle on TV.

And now, U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, is joining them by also going on TV, even though she is expected to easily win the Republican primary.

Wagner’s decision to run ads before the Aug. 7 primary is notable – especially since she didn’t run any TV spots in 2016, according to her campaign staff.

Attorney Al Watkins speaks with reporters outside the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis following a hearing. March 26, 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A key figure in the legal saga of former Gov. Eric Greitens wants a different judge to decide whether he ran afoul of a gag order.

Al Watkins represented the ex-husband of the woman with whom Greitens had an affair. During Greitens’ invasion-of-privacy trial, St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison restricted attorneys of possible witnesses from talking with the media.

Missouri state Rep. Gina Mitten
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri state Rep. Gina Mitten returns to the Politically Speaking podcast to talk about serving on the committee that investigated former Gov. Eric Greitens.

The Richmond Heights Democrat represents Missouri’s 83rd District, which includes portions of St. Louis and eastern St. Louis County. She is running unopposed in 2018 for what will be her last term in the Missouri House.

Former Gov. Eric Greitens' fall from office was by far the biggest political story of 2018 in Missouri.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Republican chairman of the now-defunct House panel that investigated then-Gov. Eric Greitens has filed a formal complaint with the state Ethics Commission accusing Greitens of running an illegal shadow campaign operation to avoid the state’s campaign-donation laws.

“With the ethics complaint that has been filed based on the work of the House investigative committee, the Missouri Ethics Commission has overwhelming evidence to conclude that Eric Greitens, his campaign committee and affiliated dark-money organization broke state campaign-finance laws,” said Democratic committee members Gina Mitten and Tommie Pierson Jr.

Gov. Eric Greitens, at top left, faces a state House committee investigation led by Jay Barnes, at bottom left. The other committee members at at right.
File Photos | St. Louis Public Radio, TIM BOMMEL | MISSOURI HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS, OFFICE OF MISSOURI HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Eric Greitens’ resignation as Missouri governor earlier this month has now officially brought to an end the mission of the House committee that’s been investigating him, but the chairman still plans on filing an ethics complaint.

In a letter sent Monday to members of the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, chairman Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said that the House does not have “inherent authority to investigate anything it wants.”

Gov. Eric Greitens makes a statement to reporters after his invasion of privacy case was dropped in this on May 14, 2018 file photo.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

Attorneys seeking to prove former Gov. Eric Greitens and his staff violated Missouri’s Sunshine Law by using the message-deleting Confide app have an extra hurdle to clear.

Circuit Judge Jon Beetem has issued a protective order, for now, shielding Greitens’ former staffers, including any who still work for the state, from being interviewed under oath by plaintiff’s attorney Mark Pedroli.

Attorneys Ross Garber and Ed Greim were hired by former gov. Eric Greitens to represent him "in his capacity as governor."
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

One of the lawyers who represented former Gov. Eric Greitens before a state House committee investigating his conduct says the state’s rejection of their bills sets a “terrible precedent.”

“If it works this time, then the next time there’s some sort of politically controversial engagement, you’ll have the same thing happen again,” said Kansas City attorney Ed Greim. “We’re going to have to have officeholders who have deep pockets, because they’re going to have to personally pay for state government work.”

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, right, examines equipment as Patriot Machines vice president Robert Burns gives him a tour of the plant.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley says he is continuing to investigate former Gov. Eric Greitens for possible wrongdoing.

Hawley said Thursday that his office has two “open investigations” into Greitens, and that he is optimistic new Gov. Mike Parson’s staff will provide help, if needed.

One of the probes is looking into allegations that Greitens and his staff violated the state’s Sunshine Law, in part by using a texting app that erased messages immediately after they are read. At issue is whether office records that should have been retained were destroyed.

Attorneys Ross Garber and Ed Greim were hired by former Gov. Eric Greitens to represent him "in his capacity as governor." June 2018
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

The chairman of a Missouri House committee that investigated former Gov. Eric Greitens doesn’t want the state to pay for his lawyers.

Greitens hired attorneys Ed Greim and Ross Garber to represent him in his official capacity as governor. When questioned under oath by the House investigative committee last month, the two confirmed that they were billing the state for their services – Greim was billing the state $340 an hour, while Garber was billing $320 an hour.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announces on June 8, 2018 that she will not charge former Gov. Eric Greitens with any crimes.
Elle Moxley | KCUR

Updated at 5:15 p.m. June 8 with comments from Jean Peters Baker — A special prosecutor has decided not to charge former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens in connection with an affair he had before he became governor.

Gov. Eric Greitens, at top left, faces a state House committee investigation led by Jay Barnes, at bottom left. The other committee members at at right.
File Photos | St. Louis Public Radio, TIM BOMMEL | MISSOURI HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS, OFFICE OF MISSOURI HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

The Missouri House committee that's been investigating former Gov. Eric Greitens has done an about-face.

A motion was filed by the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight late Wednesday to drop its lawsuit seeking records from A New Missouri and Greitens for Missouri.

Gov. Eric Greitens speaks during a news conference after the end of the 2017 legislative session. Greitens used this opportunity to compare lawmakers to third graders for not passing enough bills.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10:45 a.m. June 7 with comments from Greitens' attorney — Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens admitted as part of a deal with St. Louis prosecutors that they had enough evidence to take him to trial over the use of a charity’s donor list for his campaign.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office on Wednesday released the full agreement that led to Greitens stepping down last week. Two paragraphs of that deal had originally been redacted. St. Louis Public Radio and other news outlets had filed requests under Missouri’s open records law to see the complete document. Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office ruled on Tuesday that it was an open record.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson delivers remarks after being sworn in on Friday, June 1.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 9:54 p.m. with the hiring of Parson's chief of staff - Mike Parson kicked off his first full week as Missouri’s governor by meeting with the state’s cabinet members, all chosen by his predecessor, Eric Greitens.

The meeting was held Monday in private, inside the governor’s office, but Parson did briefly meet with reporters beforehand. He said he has no intention of replacing any of Greitens’ chosen agency heads.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signs paperwork after taking his oath of office. June 1, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Lt. Gov. Mike Parson set forth on a new chapter in Missouri political history by becoming the state’s 57th governor — promising to stabilize a state government rocked by departing-Gov. Eric Greitens’ scandals.

Parson, 62, took the oath of office shortly after 5:30 p.m., Friday.

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