Kim Gardner Adds Harvard Lawyer to Prosecute Gov. Greitens

Alderman questions the cost to taxpayers

Kevin Killeen
March 05, 2018 - 5:25 pm
Downtown Courthouse St. Louis

Kevin Killeen/KMOX

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The prosecutor is beefing up her legal team to try to win a conviction against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens -- but already, some are questioning the cost.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner filed a motion asking the judge for permission to hire Harvard Law School Professor Ronald S. Sullivan. In the past, Sullivan has represented the family of Michael Brown and also former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez.

Ronald S. Sullivan

Judge Rex Burlison approved the motion, which does not say how much Sullivan will get paid.

"I have to question is this money well spent," said Alderman Joe Vaccaro.

Vaccaro sits on the Public Safety Committee that has in the past approved plans to provide emergency boosts of funding for the circuit attorney's office.

"It makes you wonder whether she has enough faith in her own staff that they can handle this," Vaccaro said. "It sounds to me like this is going to be expensive, and I have to wonder whether it's very necessary. Is her case that weak?"

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor says the Harvard lawyer will get paid a consultant's fee of about $10,000 a month for three months -- or $30,000.

The circuit attorney has already faced criticism for hiring a $250 an hour private investigative firm out of Michigan on a $10,000 retainer for the Greitens case. 

Vaccaro wonders if the Greitens case will take away resources from prosecuting everyday violent crime cases in the city.