Former prosecutor: Jurors will be tainted by Greitens report
COLUMBIA – A former prosecutor said it will be hard to find jurors who haven't heard all about the allegations against Gov. Eric Greitens, after the release of a House report Wednesday.
Former Cole County prosecutor, Bill Tackett, said potential jurors are awash in information.
"They are hearing the circuit attorney’s office saying the woman is credible. They are hearing 48 percent of Missourians want him to resign. Those are the jurors walking around in their daily lives,” Tackett said.
The House Investigative Committee released its partial report on Gov. Eric Greitens less than a month before he goes to trial for felony invasion of privacy.
Tackett said the information will be drilled into people's head over time.
"They are starting to see the allegations on violence, threatening, and on the black mail aspect. They are seeing things that are ugly,” he said.
The report on the governor’s blackmail scandal features testimony of a "sensitive and sexual nature" using "coarse language" and an "unfiltered record of witness testimony."
The report specifically said it found the woman "credible."
Tackett said, “This is a case where the House and the Senate, the people working on this committee and the circuit attorney’s office really believe her, and apparently her story is very consistent over time with multiple witnesses. That is hard to overcome at trial."
In a statement Thursday, Greitens again vehemently denied the allegations and said there is video evidence that much of the testimony was false.
Greitens declined to testify in the committee’s report. The report states: “he would be willing to testify, at the conclusion of the criminal trial. Greitens also declined to provide documents, or answer any interrogatories under oath.”
Tackett said this is a strategy in a typical case, but in this situation, Greitens could have responded, as he made many other public statements.
“To completely walk away with no denial and have this woman and the people she spoke to after the fact be given such credibility by this committee and the circuit’s attorney’s office is really unusual in prosecution and this is an uphill fight for them,” Tackett said.
There is a difference between the process for a criminal trial and the impeachment process. In a criminal trial, it is “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” An impeachment is a political process and no burden of proof is necessary, Tackett said.
“This is very serious stuff. This is hard ball politically and it is a difficult case to defeat in terms of prosecution. So mud wrestling a pack of wolves is the only way I can describe this,” he said.