Just in case you haven’t been following along, Missouri’s Republican Governor, Eric Greitens, is currently facing two felony indictments. Here at RedState, we’ve been following the saga. (More here, here and here.)
The initial charge (for felony invasion of privacy) arises from the allegation that Greitens took a compromising photograph of a woman with whom he had an affair and threatened to publicize it if she ever disclosed their affair to anyone. Greitens has admitted the affair (which took place in 2015, just as he was beginning his run for Governor) but steadfastly denied the allegation regarding the photograph. That case is set to go to trial on May 14th in the City of St. Louis.
The story initially broke back in January. The ex-husband of the woman who was involved with Greitens had apparently recorded a conversation with her in which she confessed to the affair and described the details of their encounter. A local news station ran the story on the evening of Governor Greitens’ State of the State Address.
Since then, it’s been a veritable circus here in the Show-Me State. There have been allegations of irregularities and prosecutorial misconduct, multiple motions to dismiss and hearings thereon, and all sorts of political intrigue, including a press conference announcing an additional criminal referral (for improper use of a donor list during the campaign) from Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley just last week, just as his race against Senatorial incumbent Claire McCaskill is starting to heat up.
Now comes the news that the attorney for the ex-husband of Greitens’ mistress received $100,000 from a mystery donor in early January:
It was a busy day for Al Watkins, one of the lawyers at the center of the invasion of privacy case against Governor Eric Greitens.
Defense attorneys for the Governor dropped the bombshell that sources tell them Watkins, who represents the ex-husband of the Governor’s mistress, accepted a payment of $100,000 from an unnamed political group for representing the man.
James Martin, one of Greitens’ attorneys, never gave any evidence that the group was political in nature.
The defense has filed a subpoena of Watkin’s bank records to prove it.
Watkins told Judge Rex Burlison he will file a motion to quash the subpoena Tuesday. Shortly after the court appearance, Watkins confirmed to reporters that he did receive the payment, but said he didn’t even know the source of the money. He told the Associated Press a courier delivered two payment of $50,000 to his suburban St. Louis office in early January.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch had more details:
Watkins said “there’s no doubt” the cash was related to the Greitens case but he said he didn’t know who it was intended for, and the money came with no instructions.
His office later received “a call from an intermediary,” but he would not identify the source of the money or the intermediary. Watkins said in a press conference after the court hearing that he could not disclose the source.
While there was no explicit instruction on what to do with the money, Watkins said, “it’s really clear that this was given by virtue of what they anticipated to be the fallout from disclosure of these recordings.”
To further complicate matters, there were issues surrounding the deposition appearance and representation of the prosecution’s lead investigator, William Tisaby:
Defense lawyers were supposed to depose Tisaby for a second time Monday, and Greitens’ lawyers complained that Gardner had failed to arrange the deposition Monday. They claimed it was another tactic to delay the trial past May 14.
Gardner countered that she did her best to reach Tisaby over the weekend but couldn’t make contact. Tisaby’s deposition was later rescheduled for Thursday.
Watkins also briefly represented Tisaby until Burlison disqualified him from doing so Monday afternoon. Burlison said he was concerned about the appearance of a conflict of interest and the potential impact on the public’s confidence in the proper administration of justice, because Watkins also represents the ex-husband and testified in front of the grand jury that indicted Greitens.
Stay tuned, folks. The trial doesn’t start for 20 more days. Who knows what other revelations are lurking?