St. Louis Circuit Attorney asks judge to disqualify law firm representing Greitens

ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office filed a motion Friday to disqualify one of the top law firms defending Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.

Inside the court filing is a bombshell argument. Prosecutors suggest they don’t have the nude picture in question because of the governor's use of a secretive texting app. It's part of their claim of a conflict of interest by Eric Greiten's attorney James Bennett and the firm Dowd and Bennett.

Prosecutors argue that Dowd and Bennett once represented Greitens on his use of an app called Confide which "automatically destroys text messages." The governor faces a civil lawsuit alleging he violated the Sunshine Law and Dowd and Bennet withdrew as Greitens' counsel when the governor was charged in the unrelated felony invasion of privacy.

Greitens is accused of taking a nude picture of a woman during an affair. Greitens admitted an affair to Fox 2 but denied he was blackmailing the woman.

Prosecutors said Dowd Bennett withdrew from the secret texting case too late and they say in part, "The question exists, if Dowd and Bennett as representatives of the State were aware of evidence that the photograph of KS had been erased by Confide or similar application, would they have had an obligation to disclose that to their client, the State?"

Outside court, Dowd insisted there was no conflict of interest.

"On January 11, the attorney general confirmed notice of the issue and consulted with us by e-mail about how to handle the two matters," he said. "This was resolved by satisfying the attorney general that the state would not be billed additional amounts based on the two matters. The state has at all times been aware of this situation and the circuit attorney’s maneuver in raising it now reflects on the motion’s lack of support and a certain level of desperation.”

Expect to hear more about this after Monday’s hearing.