ST. LOUIS (AP) — A special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate allegations that a lawyer for the ex-husband of the woman who had an affair with former Gov. Eric Greitens violated a gag order.
Circuit Judge Rex Burlison said in a one-sentence order issued Tuesday that Gerard “Jerry” Carmody will investigate a “charge of indirect criminal contempt” against Albert Watkins, the St. Louis Post-Dispatchreports.
The man Watkins represented secretly recorded a conversation with his then-wife, during which she described a sexual encounter with Greitens in 2015, before his election. The woman said Greitens took a partially nude photo of her and threatened to release it if she spoke about their encounter. The encounter led to Greitens being indicted for alleged felony invasion of privacy, although the charge was later dismissed. Greitens admitted to having an affair but called it consensual and denied blackmail.
In June, Burlison threatened to fine or jail Watkins over a news release and a 20-minute impromptu April news conference in downtown St. Louis after leaving a hearing at which a lawyer for Greitens revealed that Watkins had received two $50,000 cash payments at his office. In the hearing, Watkins confirmed the payments, and reporters with more questions followed him out of the courtroom. Missouri Times Publisher Scott Faughn would later say he paid Watkins the $100,000 plus an additional $20,000 as a retainer fee.
Watkins has denied wrongdoing. When told of the order Tuesday, Watkins said only, “I am very respectful of the court’s decision.”
Another St. Louis circuit judge, Michael Mullen, appointed Carmody as special prosecutor in June to look into allegations that Don Tisaby, a private investigator hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, lied in depositions during the Greitens investigation. Attorneys with the city counselor’s office, which represents the police department, said they needed a special prosecutor to obtain subpoenas to assist the investigation because Gardner is a potential witness in the case. She was present during some of Tisaby’s testimony and his interviews of others.
Gardner dismissed the criminal case against Greitens rather than subject herself to questioning under oath about Tisaby. Gardner has appealed Mullen’s decision.