May 15 (UPI) — St. Louis prosecutors dropped one charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens because a judge ruled the city’s lead prosecutor, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, could be called as a witness in the case.
In a statement obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Gardner’s office said 22nd Circuit Judge Rex Burlison’s decision puts Gardner “in the impossible position of being a witness, subject to cross-examination within the offer of proof by her own subordinates.”
“When the court and the defense team put the state in the impossible position of choosing between her professional obligations and the pursuit of justice, the circuit attorney will always choose the pursuit of justice,” the statement continued. “The court’s order leaves the circuit attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial. Therefore, the court has left the circuit attorney with no other legal option than to dismiss and refile this matter.”
Gardner’s office said she may refile the criminal invasion of privacy case charges against Greitens and appoint a special prosecutor or one of her assistants to the case.
On Twitter, Greitens said Gardner’s decision to drop charges was a “great victory.”
“Today, the prosecutor dropped the false charges against me,” he wrote. “This was a great victory and a long time coming. I’ve said from the beginning that I am innocent. This experience has also been humbling, and I’ve emerged from it a changed man. I believe that in all of our lives, we have to deal with pain, and that if we deal with it in the right way, we can learn wisdom.”
The charges stem from an incident in which Greitens had an extramarital affair with a women and allegedly took partially nude photos of her while she was tied up, without her consent. The allegations led to a special investigation by the Missouri Legislature, which found the woman’s testimony to be “disturbing.”
Although the invasion of privacy charges have been dropped for now, Greitens still faces a felony charge for computer tampering for allegedly misusing a veterans donor list for a charity he co-founded.
And on Friday, state lawmakers will convene in Jefferson City for a special session to decide whether to impeach Greitens.