Chair of House committee investigating Greitens accuses attorney of lying

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was subpoenaed Friday to testify before a special House committee in Jefferson City on June 4. The governor’s former mistress has been called to testify the following day.

It was another day of raised and angry voices in a hearing room. A committee is investigating a possible invasion of privacy incident involving the governor and his former mistress, as well as accusations that Greitens raised campaign funds illegally.

Michelle Nasser, one of Greitens’ many lawyers, got an earful from committee chairman Jay Barnes concerning evidence the committee had yet to receive from the Greitens’ legal team.

“We have subpoenaed for production of these document Ms. Nasser,” Barnes said. “We have requested for three months.”

Barnes repeatedly accused her law partner, well-known St. Louis attorney Ed Dowd, of lying.

The issue came to light after one representative wanted to introduce a few of the documents the committee had been seeking from Greitens for months. But, the committee wants everything, not just a few pages.

“We have already made, as a committee, the decision we will not accept cherrypicked evidence,” said State Representative Gina Mitten.

Cherry-picking would be selecting the most favorable evidence to make the governor look good.

The committee then took a break. Michelle Nasser left the room upset about Chairman Barnes.

“I thought he was a total bully,” she said. “I was here to observe, not to testify; we have no formal subpoena.”

After the break, Barnes apologized to Nasser. She read a statement from Dowd, saying Greitens’ team thought the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office had sent the committee everything it requested.

That’s when Chairman Barnes again talked about Dowd lying. Nasser defended her co-worker as being one of the most honest men she knows.

In a phone interview, Dowd said he didn’t know if the governor will testify June 4. Dowd said the chairman has allowed the investigation to turn into a farce.

The forensic expert who examined several cell phones including the governor’s phone testified he found no photo of the governor’s former mistress. But because of a number of reasons, it does not mean the photo was never taken.

On Friday evening, Nasser released the following statement questioning Barnes' professionalism:

I was a federal prosecutor for 13 years. I’ve appeared before many judges and have engaged in countless matters with opposing counsel. I have never been treated in such an unprofessional manner as I was today by Chairman Jay Barnes during today’s Committee hearings. Chairman Barnes’s demeaning treatment of me was completely unsolicited and deeply disrespectful. I believe the Committee's commitment to openness, courtesy, and fairness is being undermined by Chairman Barnes. I have never been the subject of public beratement ever, as I was by Chairman Barnes for several minutes today. Today was the first day I had any interaction Chairman Barnes, and he seemed to take pleasure in shouting at me for no apparent reason. Also, the statements Chairman Barnes made today about my law partner are untrue.

The day began with Chairman Barnes ordering me to leave a session during which the Committee apparently was reviewing audio evidence. The Committee had voted for the session to be closed, but I believe the rules allow the Governor's lawyers to be in the room during both open and closed sessions. When I asked to attend and observe the presentation of the evidence, Chairman Barnes accused me of attempting to “hijack” the hearing. When I explained my understanding of the rules, he threatened to call the sergeant-at-arms to forcibly remove me.

Later, during an open hearing, I was sitting silently in the audience, and Chairman Barnes yelled at me for several minutes with the cameras rolling. Chairman Barnes apparently thought I was deserving of his tirade because the Committee was asked to consider exculpatory evidence. This evidence was presumably included when Chairman Barnes received the Circuit Attorney's entire file, which Ms. Gardner provided in violation of Judge Burlison’s order.

Today's attack on me from the Chairman, his unwarranted accusations against my law partner, the secretive nature of the Chairman's work, and his questionable associations with material witnesses like Scott Faughn should concern us all. This is not a fair process designed to get at the truth.