Marine Corps veteran Paul Curtman, a state representative from eastern Missouri, is preparing for battle once more, this time against the St. Louis prosecutor who chose to put Republican Gov. Eric Greitens on trial.
In February, a St. Louis grand jury indicted Greitens on one felony count of invasion of privacy. Greitens has admitted to the consensual affair that led to the prosecution but denies the criminal allegations against him.
On Monday, Curtman filed a complaint with the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. The subject of his complaint is St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, the prosecutor in question. Curtman believes Gardner should be investigated for “prosecutorial and legal misconduct” in her investigation of Greitens.
“I didn’t take this action lightly,” said Curtman. A constitutional conservative, he is of the opinion that “when we mix politics into the administration of the law, we violate our country’s oldest and most sacred traditions.” He argues that in choosing to prosecute Greitens, Gardner did exactly that.
Curtman cites any number of irregularities on Gardner’s part. These include her use of unlicensed private investigators, the enlistment of an out-of-state private prosecutor, the preparation of an indictment before an investigation, the absence of a written investigative report, inappropriate discussions with police officers, and the failure to use the police appropriately.
Others have raised these and similar red flags about Gardner’s conduct, most comprehensively Dave Grossman in the influential online publication The Federalist. Says Grossman of Gardner, “She has no victim, very little evidence, no legal standing–and given all that, almost no hope of conviction.”
As a candidate for auditor, Curtman is putting his own political future on the line by making these charges against Gardner, a former colleague in the Missouri House. He does not mince words. “What we have here is an abuse of a prosecutor’s enormous power,” he says. “This in and of itself is a miscarriage of justice.”
More troubling, Curtman believes that Gardner has invested her prosecutorial energy in the Greitens case at the expense of the real crime being committed in the increasingly lethal St. Louis. Curtman cites the stabbing of 23-year-old Trent Brewer in south St. Louis in February 2018. Brewer, who is still recovering, is mystified that the man he positively identified as his attacker has not been arrested.
“His story has stayed the same this entire time,” his attorney Grant Boyd said of Brewer. “He’s cooperated with every part of this investigation. When they say jump, he jumps, he’s there. He gives statements but they won’t do anything with that.”
Gardner’s office responded in a statement whose irony is not lost on Curtman and others paying attention to the seemingly gratuitous prosecution of Greitens: “Taking someone’s liberty by charging them with a crime is a very serious action. At this time, there is insufficient evidence to pursue charges against anyone.”
Says Curtman in conclusion, “We need people in positions of public trust who uphold our Constitution. Circuit Attorney Gardner does not—and she must be dealt with.”
Correction: An earlier version had Curtman filing his complaint with the Missouri Bar Association. According to Rule 5: “The chief disciplinary counsel or the counsel’s designated assistants shall serve as counsel for the bar in all disciplinary proceedings and shall conduct necessary investigations as provided in this Rule 5.”