Judge appoints new special prosecutor in Tisaby case


A St. Louis judge will allow the special prosecutor to withdraw from the perjury and evidence tampering case against a former FBI agent who was hired by the city’s top prosecutor to investigate former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Judge Michael Stelzer posted the decision late Wednesday. He appointed Robert Russell, a western Missouri prosecutor, to take over from Gerard Carmody, a private attorney in St. Louis. Russell is the Republican prosecuting attorney in Johnson County. Carmody has said he needed to withdraw to deal with other issues in his law firm.

The investigator, 68-year-old William Don Tisaby, is accused of lying in a March 2018 deposition leading up to Greitens’ criminal trial. Greitens, a Republican, was governor at the time.

Tisaby was indicted two years ago. At a hearing last week, Tisaby’s attorney, Daniel Dailey, urged the judge to toss out the case, saying the prosecutor turnover would further delay justice for Tisaby.

Dailey and Tisaby’s other lawyer, Jermaine Wooten, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

Greitens was indicted for invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a compromising photo of a woman during a 2015 extramarital affair, before he was governor, and threatening to use it as blackmail if she divulged their relationship. The charge was dropped in the midst of jury selection, but Greitens resigned in June 2018.

Tisaby was hired by Democratic Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to investigate Greitens. The indictment against Tisaby alleges he denied taking notes during his interview of the woman who was involved with Greitens, although a recording showed him doing so. The indictment also says that while Tisaby claimed he didn’t receive notes from the prosecutor’s office before interviewing the woman, a document uncovered during grand jury proceedings showed Gardner provided Tisaby her notes.

The indictment also raises concerns about whether Gardner was complicit, saying she failed to correct Tisaby’s inaccuracies or report them, and that she made incorrect statements to defense lawyers and a judge.

Meanwhile, Missouri’s chief disciplinary counsel said in a court filing in May that a review indicated Gardner concealed evidence that could have helped Greitens. A hearing to determine if Gardner should be disciplined is planned but no date has been set.

Greitens also faced a second criminal charge in April 2018, accusing him of using a charity donor list to raise money for his 2016 gubernatorial campaign. During the court hearing on June 24, Dailey said it was Tisaby who uncovered the donor list. Dailey said, without naming names in court, that the list includes clients of Carmody’s law firm.

“Mr. Tisaby will prove that’s the reason he was indicted,” Dailey said at the time, drawing an angry response in court from Carmody.

Dailey filed a letter with the court Monday that said Carmody threatened him after the June 24 hearing, allegedly stating, “Your day is coming.”

The judge did not address Dailey’s concerns in the ruling on the special prosecutor.

Greitens announced in March that he’s running for the U.S. Senate in 2022.

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