Gov. Eric Greitens defense attorney James Martin could not have been more blunt: “what we have here is criminal perjury under oath.”
In open court on Thursday, Martin accused William Tisaby, the private investigator hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, of “multiple, multiple lies.” The accusations stem from a videotaped deposition that had been missing for a month and the notes that Tisaby did or did not take when doing the deposition.
The story is almost too strange to believe. On January 29 of this year, Tisaby and Gardner deposed K.S., the woman at the heart of the Greitens affair, with a video camera rolling.
When the defense counsel asked for the video and the accompanying notes from that deposition, as was their right, they were informed that the video malfunctioned and no notes were taken.
The defense filed a motion saying it was absurd that Tisaby, a former FBI agent, could sit through a two-hour deposition without taking notes or asking questions. When the defense deposed Tisaby, he reiterated his claim under oath that he did not take notes or ask questions.
The video, which the prosecution produced hours after the House released its sensational report, showed Tisaby both asking questions and taking notes.
The prosecution may have delayed its release to protect Tisaby as much as to hide the discrepancies in K.S.’s testimony. With all the public outcry about the alleged misbehavior of Greitens, a perjury accusation would be lost amidst the noise. The evidence, however, is damning, and the defense did not shy from laying it out.
“That investigator sat there and lied at least five times,” said Martin. “Lied about whether he looked at his laptop at lunchtime. Lied about whether he had taken any notes. Lied about whether he asked questions. Lied about whether he reviewed other things before he wrote his report. Lied about whether he ever saw the notes of Ms. Gardner. Lied about whether he ever looked at the transcripts of the taped interviews that the husband had taken.”
Defense counsel Scott Rosenblum clarified that Tisaby did not merely misspeak. “He gave a back story to support this lie,” said Rosenblum. “His back story was that he was known around the channels of the U.S. attorneys for which he worked, he was known for his ability to commit hours of testimony to memory, which he somehow put in a 302 down the road. Sometimes weeks, sometimes months.”
Equally problematic from the defense’s perspective was Gardner’s silence in the face of these alleged lies. Said Martin, Gardner “sat there and let him lie every time.” Rosenblum had never made an allegation against a prosecutor in his 35 years of practice until Thursday. “Not only was her behavior grossly, grossly incompetent, under any stretch,” said Rosenblum, “but she suborned perjury in my presence.”
When the prosecutors were given the opportunity to rebut the charges against Tisaby and, to a lesser degree, Gardner, they made no effort to do so. Prosecutor Robert Steele’s failure to defend his colleagues is stunning. Steele instead made the case that what mattered was the content of K.S.’s deposition.
Said Steele, “There’s not one ounce of anything in Mr. Tisaby’s notes, Ms. Gardner’s notes, or the video, which is exculpatory to Mr. Greitens.” As explained in a previous Sentinel article, the defense strongly disagrees.
As to the missing video, Steele and Gardner told somewhat conflicting stories about how they thought the video recording malfunctioned. Of note, when Gardner claimed, “The tape did not work,” Burlison reminded her that she was speaking under oath. As he knew, the video did work. Only ten minutes of the two-hour video was lacking audio.
The defense is asking that the case be dismissed. Sensing Burlison was sympathetic to the defense request, prosecutor Robert Dierker lamely countered, “So I would submit that the drastic remedy of dismissal is not appropriate.”