Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has garnered a bevy of headlines this past week over the decision of her office to drop the charges against Jussie Smollett, her recusal/non-recusal, the intentional/inadvertent sealing of the proceedings, etc. As my colleague, Bonchie, detailed yesterday, even the Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association is none too impressed with her actions surrounding this case.
But just in case Chicago was feeling singled-out by all these shenanigans, St. Louis is stepping up in solidarity. No, this isn’t about how some St. Louisans choose to slice their bagels. (As a native St. Louisan — and even a regular customer of Panera – which started out here as St. Louis Bread Co. — I can honestly say I’d never encountered this practice before Thursday. I’m now told by some friends this is their preferred method of delivery. I remain skeptical and still maintain this isn’t actually “a thing”.)
This is about the office of St. Louis Circuit Attorney, Kim Gardner. (What is it with Kim’s?!) You may recall that Gardner’s office was the driving force behind the prosecution (subsequently dropped) of former (now resigned) Missouri Governor Eric Greitens over his alleged photographing of his mistress in a state of undress prior to taking office. Even at the time, Gardner’s actions were questioned and criticized.
Since then, a grand jury probe has been opened into Gardner’s handling of that matter and, in particular, her hiring of ex-FBI agent William Tisaby as an investigator and his purported perjury in that matter. And it’s not been a good look for Gardner. As the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports:
ST. LOUIS • A special prosecutor running a probe into claims a hired investigator perjured himself during the criminal case last year against former Gov. Eric Greitens on Friday accused the Circuit Attorney’s Office of obstructing the investigation.
“What are you hiding?” special prosecutor Ryann Carmody asked the office’s chief trial assistant, Rachel Smith, in court. “Just give me what we want and what we have the legal authority to ask for.”
The contentious hearing was the latest salvo in the ongoing public feud among public office holders over the monthslong grand jury investigation of Tisaby. Representatives from Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner’s administration, the Department of Public Safety, a St. Louis judge and special prosecutors have publicly clashed for weeks over search warrants related to the Tisaby case, which Gerard “Jerry” Carmody and his firm were appointed to investigate last year.
Earlier this month, Circuit Judge Michael Mullen accused Gardner’s office of “playing games” with the investigation. Lest you think Gardner is being unfairly characterized in all this, the Post lays out a recent e-mail exchange between her office and a police sergeant looking into the matter which leaves little question that the “playing games” comment is right on the mark:
Last week, the special prosecutor filed a scathing response with the appeals court claiming various ways Gardner’s office has obstructed the investigation and calling her actions “remarkable” for a law enforcement official. The filing included an Oct. 5 email from Gardner to a city police sergeant who had asked for an interview about Tisaby, seeking to clarify who he was referring to.
“Because I do not like to assume any facts, and because I am the elected Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis, responsible for review of any case submitted to the Circuit Attorney’s office for charges, please provide additional background and identifying information as to Mr. William Tisaby to whom you are referring,” Gardner wrote in the email.
The judge noted the email in court Friday, saying it showed her office’s opposition to every step of the grand jury probe.
“That’s how the circuit attorney began: ‘I don’t know anything about that guy,” Mullen said. “Every time it’s been in front of me, that’s how it’s been.”
So, take heart, Kim Foxx. Your office isn’t the only one which reeks of corruption. You appear to be in good (bad?) company.
Follow Susie on Twitter @SmoosieQ