Capitol tense ahead of investigative committee’s report release

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — As legislators head home for the weekend, one subject has been on the minds of nearly everyone: when will we see the House investigative committee’s report into Gov. Eric Greitens, and what will it contain?

Speaking with reporters on Thursday, House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty said she was confident that the release of the report would be delayed at least temporarily.

However, Speaker Todd Richardson assured reporters afterward in an emailed statement that once the committee finalized its report, it will be released to the public. Rep. Jay Barnes, who chairs the special investigative committee that has met only in closed sessions over the last month, confirmed that the committee will issue a report in the coming week.

This comes after Greitens’ legal team sent a letter to the special committee asking that the release of their report be delayed, as it could potentially influence or taint the jury pool ahead of the Governor’s May 14 trial in St. Louis for the felony charge of invasion of privacy.

In the letter, Greitens’ attorneys said that the governor was “willing to provide testimony to the committee, as well as all necessary documentation, discovery, depositions, and other key information,” but stated that a request to appear before his criminal trial was “unreasonable.”

“Anything published by this committee will no doubt influence the jury pool and the public about this case, and thus it is vital that the committee’s work reflect the full facts,” the letter read, alleging that the report would “disseminate incomplete, false and misleading information that will cause damage to entirely innocent people, some of whom are families and children.”

“Over 36 months have passed since the incidents being investigated by this committee allegedly took place. Surely the committee can spare six additional weeks to get a full and complete accounting of what actually occurred. The matters being investigated by the committee are not urgent, nor, for that matter, are they matters directly related to the continued functioning of state government.”

The letter was signed by Ed Dowd, the governor’s private defense counsel; Lucinda Luetkemeyer, the general counsel in the governor’s office; and Ross Garber, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney.

Among Garber’s previous clients are the names of three former governors who faced impeachment proceedings: Robert Bentley of Alabama, Mark Sanford of South Carolina and John Rowland of Connecticut.

Luetkemeyer made headlines in January when, as a taxpayer-paid attorney, she called St. Louis attorney Al Watkins for an intelligence-finding mission in the Governor’s defense. Watkins represents the man who alleged that Greitens had taken a compromising photo of his then-wife in 2015, and recorded the conversation that took place with Luetkemeyer.

The letter summed up the sentiments of the defense with a line stating that “speed is not of the essence here; accuracy is.”

When reporters asked Barnes if the panel would delay the release, he replied “no.” Still, Barnes statement that the committee would be releasing a report in the coming week allows for the possibility that it will not be made public on Monday. In theory, the committee could issue its report to the Speaker as required, and then the Speaker could release it at a later time.

For Greitens, however, it was business as usual on Thursday as he emerged to hold a meeting of the Board of Public Buildings in the governor’s office. The board consists of three members: Greitens, Hawley, and Lt. Gov. Mike Parson.

And as the only member present in-person, no actions were taken with the lack of a quorum.

For the embattled governor, it seems that the walls are closing in because, in the same day, the spokeswoman for Attorney General Josh Hawley said that his Office had issued a civil subpoena to the Republican governor through his company, The Greitens Group. This comes after Hawley launched his own probe of The Mission Continues last month.

“We have issued a civil subpoena to the Greitens Group. Eric Greitens is the registered agent for the Greitens Group, and Eric Greitens has accepted service of the subpoena through his counsel,” Hawley’s press secretary, Mary Compton, said in a statement.

But for now, everything remains a waiting game, all hinging on the issuing of the special investigative committee’s report.

This story originally appeared on missouritimes.com

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