ST. LOUIS - There was a stunning admission from St. Louis prosecutors Wednesday in the invasion of privacy case against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.
It had to with the infamous "alleged" photo in the case. It came as prosecutors and the Greitens defense team argued over a trial date.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and her assistant argued for a November 5 trial date, more than eight months away. The governor's attorneys pushed for April 16, about six and a half weeks from now.
"It's a trial date. We wanted a trial date," defense attorney Ed Dowd said as he left the court.
Dowd declined to call the ruling a victory. He also declined to comment further. The most stunning development came during arguments over the trial date.
Defense attorney Jim Bennett told the judge he'd just learned prior to the hearing that "the photo doesn't exist."
The prosecution countered, "we plan to get that picture," adding they didn't have it yet.
Greitens, who is married, is accused of taking a nude or partially nude photo of his mistress without her knowledge or consent and transmitting it in March 2015.
Prosecutors argued they needed more time to investigate and come up with the photo.
Greitens' attorneys pointed out November 5 is the day before mid-term elections.
Greitens, a Republican, has alleged Gardner, a Democrat, is motivated by partisan politics.
Two days ago, prosecutors wanted the trial to start in August, Bennett said. A spokeswoman for Gardner denied any political motivation.
Gardner told the November date had more to do with her office's struggles to manage their caseload.
Judge Burlison decided all parties would be better served by the trial coming sooner rather than later. He pointed out it was a low-level felony case with just three witnesses expected to testify. He also pointed to its destructive impact on the entire state.
"I don't think there's any case that affects the people of Missouri more than this case," he said.
The judge also set a deadline of March 5, just five days from now, for the governor to request a change of venue. Greitens wanted more time in case--as one attorney put it--"there are rallies in the streets" against the governor.