Yes, rogue prosecutors do try to take out elected leaders; one of them may face jail

As we watch the drama escalate in the effort to undo the 2016 presidential election, consider the case of another chief executive elected at the same time, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. A Republican, Governor Greitens was indicted in February for felony invasion of privacy by allegedly photographing his former lover, “K.S.,” without her knowledge or permission.

Governor Eric Greitens (source)

The indictment was sought and is being prosecuted by Circuit Attorney (the Missouri name for a district attorney) Kim Gardner, a Democrat who was elected as the first black Circuit Attorney in St. Louis.

Since then, the case has fallen apart, with no photograph produced, and with the revelation yesterday that the accuser K.S. has admitted under oath that she may have dreamed the incident. That’s right, a sitting governor prosecuted by a Democrat on the basis of something that was literally dreamed up by the purported victim of the alleged crime.

Gardner recognized some time ago that she was out of her depth, and recruited to the prosecution outside counsel, a clinical professor at Harvard Law School.  It was subsequently revealed that taxpayers could be paying $120,000 for the services of Professor Rondald S. Sullivan, Jr. in prosecuting the dreamed-up case.

Clinical Professor Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. (source: Harvard Law School)

Some observers believe that cosmic justice may eventuate in the form of prosecution of Gardner. Dave Grossman writes at The Federalist:

An indictment with dubious origins and few facts has led to a trial with almost unbelievable moments of legal comedy. There was the initial hearing, when the prosecution admitted to the judge that they don’t have evidence to win the trial. Then there the moment when the prosecutors had to tell the defense that they didn’t have the photo that is supposedly the reason for the indictment in the first place.

And last, but most certainly not least, there was the moment when the prosecution allegedly broke the law by bringing on a prosecutor who was serving elsewhere as a criminal defense attorney. Yep, that’s a crime in the state of Missouri, and the prosecution allegedly committed it. Whoops. (snip)

The slipshod work by the prosecution led one high-level member of law enforcement in the state of Missouri to call this “a clown show prosecution,” and that opinion is widely shared in legal and law enforcement circles in Missouri.

Obviously, Gardner probably didn’t think it would go this way. She was probably thinking this case against a high-profile, popular, sitting Republican Governor would make her name. Now it might ruin her career. Here’s why: It’s almost certain, at this point, that the case will either be thrown out by the judge or that the governor will be found innocent. But there might be more fallout to come — for Gardner, that is. What if the Greitens team files a civil suit against Gardner, one that could cost her millions in damages? What if citizens in the city of St. Louis file complaints with the police or Missouri’s attorney general about Gardner’s conduct, leading to a criminal investigation? Ironically, a case that began on illegitimate grounds could end with the quite-legitimate investigation of the prosecutor who started it.

There is much more. Read the whole thing, and contemplate the lessons that might be drawn. The relative silence of the national media on this overtly sensationalistic case tells us a lot.

As we watch the drama escalate in the effort to undo the 2016 presidential election, consider the case of another chief executive elected at the same time, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. A Republican, Governor Greitens was indicted in February for felony invasion of privacy by allegedly photographing his former lover, “K.S.,” without her knowledge or permission.

Governor Eric Greitens (source)

The indictment was sought and is being prosecuted by Circuit Attorney (the Missouri name for a district attorney) Kim Gardner, a Democrat who was elected as the first black Circuit Attorney in St. Louis.

Official portrait of Kim Gardner (official portrait)

Since then, the case has fallen apart, with no photograph produced, and with the revelation yesterday that the accuser K.S. has admitted under oath that she may have dreamed the incident. That’s right, a sitting governor prosecuted by a Democrat on the basis of something that was literally dreamed up by the purported victim of the alleged crime.

Gardner recognized some time ago that she was out of her depth, and recruited to the prosecution outside counsel, a clinical professor at Harvard Law School.  It was subsequently revealed that taxpayers could be paying $120,000 for the services of Professor Rondald S. Sullivan, Jr. in prosecuting the dreamed-up case.

Clinical Professor Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr. (source: Harvard Law School)

Some observers believe that cosmic justice may eventuate in the form of prosecution of Gardner. Dave Grossman writes at The Federalist:

An indictment with dubious origins and few facts has led to a trial with almost unbelievable moments of legal comedy. There was the initial hearing, when the prosecution admitted to the judge that they don’t have evidence to win the trial. Then there the moment when the prosecutors had to tell the defense that they didn’t have the photo that is supposedly the reason for the indictment in the first place.

And last, but most certainly not least, there was the moment when the prosecution allegedly broke the law by bringing on a prosecutor who was serving elsewhere as a criminal defense attorney. Yep, that’s a crime in the state of Missouri, and the prosecution allegedly committed it. Whoops. (snip)

The slipshod work by the prosecution led one high-level member of law enforcement in the state of Missouri to call this “a clown show prosecution,” and that opinion is widely shared in legal and law enforcement circles in Missouri.

Obviously, Gardner probably didn’t think it would go this way. She was probably thinking this case against a high-profile, popular, sitting Republican Governor would make her name. Now it might ruin her career. Here’s why: It’s almost certain, at this point, that the case will either be thrown out by the judge or that the governor will be found innocent. But there might be more fallout to come — for Gardner, that is. What if the Greitens team files a civil suit against Gardner, one that could cost her millions in damages? What if citizens in the city of St. Louis file complaints with the police or Missouri’s attorney general about Gardner’s conduct, leading to a criminal investigation? Ironically, a case that began on illegitimate grounds could end with the quite-legitimate investigation of the prosecutor who started it.

There is much more. Read the whole thing, and contemplate the lessons that might be drawn. The relative silence of the national media on this overtly sensationalistic case tells us a lot.