Judge calls out Gardner’s office for ‘consistent behavior’ to ‘obfuscate the process’

FOX Files
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS – “If it walks and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.” Those words coming from St. Louis Judge Christopher McGraugh about the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s defiance of a court order.

FOX 2 was the only news outlet in the online courtroom Wednesday amid legal fireworks over Kim Gardner’s communications.

McGraugh vigorously criticized the circuit attorney’s office for what he called repeated behavior. He was referring to a fight by a Washington DC reporter to obtain communications between Gardner and people of influence.

Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens continues demanding to know who Gardner spoke to during her failed case against him. Greitens was indicted in 2018 for invasion of privacy. He was accused of taking a picture of his blindfolded and bound mistress.

Greitens eventually resigned from office.

Greitens told FOX 2 this past February that he never took a picture. Prosecutors never found a picture. The case was eventually dismissed.

Reporter John Solomon, founder of Just the News, filed a lawsuit demanding records of attorney communications during the Greitens’ prosecution.

Solomon won a default judgment for the records in July; the circuit attorney’s office failed to respond. On Wednesday, the office’s new private counsel, David Luce from the firm Capes Sokol, said, “There’s no getting around the fact there were mistakes made in handling this case.”

“We apologize to the court and counsel for those mistakes. That said, the law is very clear. The punishment doesn’t not fit the crime,” Luce said.

Judge McGraugh countered: “This didn’t just happen once. This is a consistent behavior.”

The judge said he didn’t blame the previous attorney representing the circuit attorney’s office.

“I think it’s the office that’s attempting to obfuscate this process,” McGraugh said.

The new counselor for the CAO on this case, David Luce, answered, “(Previous counsel) was not instructed to slow play this case. That just did not happen. They’re on fire (busy) over there. (Previous counsel) was never instructed to slow play the case by anyone.”

After the hearing, attorney David Roland laughed at that assertion, telling FOX 2, “It’s just not true and the judge noted that.”

Roland is director of litigation for the Freedom Center for Missouri. He said the next fight will be to make sure the records aren’t completely blacked out.

“That is what they suggested, so I would hope that the judge would not let them get away with that,” he said. “Once you have defaulted in a case, you’re not supposed to be able to go back and argue the merits again. That’s kind of what the circuit attorney is asking to do. They want to be able to submit redacted documents and say there’s nothing to see here.”

The judge will issue a ruling soon, which could set aside the entire case. He could find the circuit attorney’s office in contempt or he could make specific decisions about what information should be released. We’re monitoring that.

A spokesperson for the circuit attorney said they are reviewing and complying with records requests on a regular basis. They said this is just one of many cases they’re answering and that they are doing their best under extraordinary circumstances.

About the FOX Files

The Fox Files are groundbreaking investigations you won’t see anywhere else. The series is well known for breaking the Pam Hupp story nationally. The reports that led to the exoneration of Russ Faria. But, it is far from the only time in which our investigations led to overturned convictions and freedom for the wrongfully accused. The Fox Files investigations do not fit into just one category, other than the fact our reports shine a light on issues and corruption in ways you won’t see anywhere else.

You won’t know what to expect as our reports often take twists that surprise even Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes.

“You never know where the truth will lead and you have to keep searching for it, even when you think you might be done,” Hayes said.

From getting arrested for trying to cover a public meeting, to getting law enforcement involved in his report about a daycare fight club, the Fox Files has been at the forefront of breaking news investigations in the St. Louis area.

It doesn’t stop just in St. Louis. The Pam Hupp/Russ Faria story took him to Lincoln County. Fox 2 was the first to report, nationally, on the synthetic drug epidemic when it began in St. Charles County, MO. In St. Louis County, our Fox Files reporting led to the dismantling of some police departments, including the departments of Uplands Park and Jennings. And in the City of St. Louis, our investigations led to swift government actions, such as our report that led to the Governor’s ordered shut down of a daycare.

Our reporting in St. Louis also led to former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ exclusive Fox Files interviews involving his court fight to oust the chief prosecutor while attempting to prove that political corruption led to an illegal overturning of a state election.

“It’s not always bad news,” Hayes said about a recent victory for a restaurant in his coverage of a St. Clair County Illinois issue. A Fox Files report, exposing a health department’s mistake over the COVID-19 pandemic, led to an overturning of a decision, allowing the business to open for limited inside dining.

Another investigation took us to Madison County, where prosecutors praised Fox 2’s coverage while shutting down an illegal synthetic drug business – and to Monroe County, where we uncovered key evidence in the Chris Coleman murder trial.

Even the national media, continues reaching out to local affiliate Fox 2 KTVI and the Fox Files, for its work on cases that are important to St. Louis. When you see a network television’s coverage of St. Louis, you’ll often see that they gathered information that was first uncovered right here.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News