Former FBI agent is indicted in a case involving St. Louis' prosecutor

Tisaby interviewed the woman in January 2018 with Gardner present. During a sworn deposition two months later, conducted by Greitens’ lawyers, Tisaby made several false statements, including that he had not made any notes during the interview and that a video recorder had malfunctioned.

Former FBI agent is indicted in a case involving St. Louis' prosecutor

The former agent, William D. Tisaby, was hired last year by the city’s prosecutor, Kimberly Gardner, to help investigate accusations against the governor of Missouri at the time, Eric Greitens. Greitens was accused of threatening to blackmail his mistress with a photo of her partially clothed if she ever revealed their affair.

Tisaby interviewed the woman in January 2018 with Gardner present. During a sworn deposition two months later, conducted by Greitens’ lawyers, Tisaby made several false statements, including that he had not made any notes during the interview and that a video recorder had malfunctioned.

Gardner had indicted Greitens for felony invasion of privacy. But Tisaby’s problematic deposition testimony played a role in the dismissal of the case in May 2018. Lawyers for Greitens had filed a complaint accusing Tisaby of perjury with the St. Louis police. A special prosecutor was appointed to investigate.

Greitens’ lawyers also accused Gardner of knowing about and failing to correct Tisaby’s erroneous testimony, and of suborning perjury. Indictments of sitting prosecutors for manipulation of evidence are virtually unheard of, even if their actions have resulted in the incarceration of the innocent.

The indictment unsealed Monday accuses Tisaby of falsely stating under oath, among other things, that he had not taken notes during the interview of Greitens’ mistress, that he had not received information from Gardner about a previous interview with the woman, and that he had not sought help from computer or forensic experts in a search for the alleged photo in question.

The indictment says Gardner was aware of many of Tisaby’s false statements under oath — and that, in fact, she had given him notes from the previous interview — but did not seek to correct the record.

Tisaby’s lawyer, Jermaine Wooten, vowed to take the case to trial, saying his client was not guilty. “This case will not be pled down,” Wooten said.

A spokeswoman for Gardner said she could not comment because of a judicial gag order. But in previous legal filings, Gardner denied wrongdoing.

She has said that she turned over the disputed video and notes of the interview with the mistress to the Greitens legal team a month before his trial was to begin. Her lawyers have conceded, though, that Tisaby was untruthful and that relying on him was an “egregious mistake.”

Greitens’ lawyers claimed that the alleged wrongdoing was significant because the notes and video revealed major contradictions with the testimony the woman gave to a Republican-led state legislative committee, undermining her credibility and the criminal case against Greitens.

But that has been disputed by the committee and by another prosecutor who was appointed to review the case. Both said that the woman’s accounts were consistent and that she was a credible witness.

The indictment states that Tisaby’s false testimony concerned matters that “could substantially affect, or did substantially affect, the course or outcome of the Greitens case,” but does not say how.

The indictment did allege something new: that when Gardner turned over notes to the Greitens legal team of her earlier conversation with the mistress, she failed to disclose the last two pages of the document.

Greitens, a Republican, announced his resignation from office a year ago amid calls for impeachment from members of his own party, and as he was facing a second felony charge of misusing a charity donor list. That charge was dismissed as part of a deal that included his resignation.

The investigation into Gardner’s office has frustrated her supporters, who say it is an effort to drive her out of office because she has challenged the legal establishment and the police. The special prosecutor investigating Gardner’s office is a lifelong friend of the lawyer for Greitens who lodged the complaint with the police.

They have also pointed out that while the police were quick to seek a special prosecutor to investigate Tisaby, they were slower to investigate Gardner’s claim, filed last year, that several of Greitens’ lawyers had threatened her if she did not dismiss his indictment. The city’s law department notified Gardner’s office in April that the investigation of her complaint was complete and that the police would support pursuing a special prosecutor.

On Monday, a top official in the city’s law department, Michael Garvin, released emails showing that since then, part of the delay in pursuing that complaint has come from the city’s deference to Gardner’s aides. In the emails, an aide repeatedly says the office wants to pursue the appointment of a special prosecutor itself, and city officials deferred to that request.

Once a special prosecutor is appointed, Garvin said, the city’s lawyers will send the prosecutor the final investigative report.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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