Judge Orders Deposition in Greitens Case -- or Else

Attorney for ex-husband admits receiving mystery cash payment

Kevin Killeen
April 23, 2018 - 5:35 pm

Kevin Killeen/KMOX


ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Losing patience with the prosecutor after she failed to deliver a witness for a defense deposition Monday morning, Judge Rex Burlison hands down an ultimatum.

Burlison orders Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to deliver her former chief investigator William Tisaby for a deposition by Thursday, or the judge says he could start striking witnesses.

"The strike goes beyond him" (Tisaby), Burlison said. "It goes to the evidence he's part of, which the defense has not had the chance to probe."

That could include striking witnesses Tisaby has talked with, even the alleged victim -- Greitens' former lover.

The announcement caused Gardner to visibly squirm. She stood up to argue that the former lover could not be struck as a witness, because she also testified before the grand jury.

"I think Ms. Gardner is forgetting she has been sanctioned," said Greitens defense lawyer Jim Martin.

Defense attorney Scott Rosenblum also spoke, saying that Tisaby has affected every witness he talked to with his "flawed investigation."

Explaining Tisaby's failure to show up for the Monday morning deposition, Attorney Albert Watkins -- who requested and was denied permission to represent Tisaby -- said that Tisaby was working for a private firm out of state doing work related to "national security."

The judge ruled Watkins cannot represent both the ex-husband and Tisaby because it had the appearance of a conflict of interest. He ordered Watkins to give Gardner Tisaby's phone number, and Gardner was told to get him in for the deposition Thursday.

Also today, the judge ordered that two phones be turned over to a forensics examiner -- a phone belonging to the former lover, and a phone belonging to her husband. Greitens lawyers want to examine text messages and audio recordings on the phones to compare to evidence they've already been given in discovery.

The judge ordered that the defense will have limited access to the content of the phones, accessing only the relevant evidence and not downloading all the data.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday Greitens lawyers will argue a new motion that would exclude the local prosecutor from handling the new case -- the felony computer tampering charge issued Friday.

Also, Watkins plans to file a motion asking the judge to quash a subpoena he received ordering him to hand over bank records.

Attorneys for Greitens announced in court Monday that they've learned Watkins received two cash payments "from a political operative" totaling $100,000 in connection with the Greitens invasion of privacy case.

Watkins told reporters on the court house steps afterwards that the money came by courier without any note of explanation, but later, he says, he got a phone call telling him the money was for handling the case of the ex-husband and a few other individuals who Watkins declined to comment.

Asked who the money came from, Watkins said "I cannot say."

Upon receiving the money, Watkins claims he contacted the FBI and put the money in the bank. Asked if the FBI is investigating the money, Watkins says there is no investigation.

A couple of weeks earlier on the same steps, Watkins told reporters he has not received any money from third parties to handle the ex-husband's case.

Asked if he lied to reporters, Watkins says he did not, because the money did not go to him, directly, but to "his firm."