At­tor­ney’s hir­ing of pri­vate com­pany ques­tioned


JEF­FER­SON CITY, Mo. — At­tor­neys for Mis­souri Gov. Eric Gre­it­ens are ques­tion­ing why St. Louis Cir­cuit At­tor­ney Kim Gard­ner hired a pri­vate, out-of-state com­pany to per­form the in­ves­ti­ga­tion that led to his in­dict­ment, rather than re­ly­ing on St. Louis po­lice.

Gre­it­ens’ at­tor­neys in a court fil­ing Tues­day cited doc­u­ments show­ing En­terra LLC of Rochester Hills, Mich., con­ducted the in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­nected to the Repub­li­can gover­nor’s af­fair with a woman in 2015, be­fore he was elected.

A grand jury Thurs­day in­dicted Gre­it­ens on one count of in­va­sion of pri­vacy for tak­ing a par­tially nude photo of the woman with­out her con­sent and trans­mit­ting it to a com­puter.

Gre­it­ens is seek­ing a speedy trial and is ea­ger to clear his name, at­tor­ney Ed­ward L. Dowd Jr. said in a tele­phone in­ter­view Tues­day with The As­so­ci­ated Press. A judge on Mon­day set a ten­ta­tive trial date of May 14. The Gre­it­ens team had hoped for an April trial date.

“The dam­age to this guy that’s be­ing done every day is ab­surd,” Dowd said of Gre­it­ens.

“He’s hang­ing in there,” Dowd said. “He’s a very tough guy. He re­ally wants to have a trial and so do we.”

Dowd said he ob­tained the cir­cuit at­tor­ney’s con­tract with En­terra through an open-records re­quest. That doc­u­ment, which Dowd filed as a court ex­hibit, shows En­terra was to be paid a $10,000 re­tainer, with its em­ploy­ees paid at a rate of $250 an hour plus re­im­burse­ment for “rea­son­able ex­penses.”

The agree­ment states the in­ves­tiga­tive com­pany would re­port di­rectly to Gard­ner “ei­ther orally, or if re­quested, in writ­ten form.”

Dowd, a for­mer U.S. at­tor­ney who also worked on the Branch Da­vid­ian in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Waco, Texas, said he’s never seen a sit­u­a­tion where a crim­i­nal case re­port was not in writ­ing.

“It’s more in­di­ca­tion of how un­usual this whole thing is,” Dowd said.

It’s un­clear why an out­side firm was used for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­stead of St. Louis po­lice. A spokes­woman for Gard­ner had no im­me­di­ate com­ment.

Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity law pro­fes­sor Peter Joy said hir­ing a pri­vate firm to help in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is not un­com­mon when prose­cu­tors are un­der­staffed and un­der tight dead­lines. That was the case in the Gre­it­ens in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­cause the three-year statute of lim­i­ta­tions for in­va­sion of pri­vacy would have ex­pired in March.

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