ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Circuit Court has named a special prosecutor to try indirect criminal contempt cases against Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and a former subordinate.
Family attorney Allison Lee, of the Sandberg Phoenix law firm, will handle proceedings on the circuit court’s behalf. Lee is a former assistant circuit attorney in St. Louis and a former assistant state’s attorney for Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Gardner and Chris Desilets face indirect contempt of court hearings, after Desilets no-showed an April 10 court date for a shooting case.
The shooting case is about an Oct. 2020 incident in which an 11-year-old girl was struck by a stray bullet. Steven Vincent, 28, faces nine counts, including first-degree assault, for the shooting.
Desilets had another attorney pass a note to Judge Michael Noble, explaining that he had to miss court for a doctor’s appointment.
Noble asked Desilets to appear in court on April 24 with proof of the doctor’s appointment and to reschedule the start of trial. However, Desilets no-showed that hearing as well, prompting Noble to summon both Desilets and Gardner.
Prior to the judge handing down the contempt of court order, Desilets acknowledged he was handling around 100 active felony cases. Desilets’ 104 felony cases will now go to the last two attorneys remaining in the Violent Crimes Unit: Sai Chigarupati and Matt Field.
Desilets resigned from the circuit attorney’s office on Monday, May 1. He’s the third assistant prosecutor to leave the office over the last few weeks.
Natalia Ogurkiewicz resigned on April 15, citing a toxic work environment, an unbearable workload, and a lack of support. She had been working on the Daniel Riley case. He’s the man accused in the tragic crash which caused Janae Edmondson to lose both her legs.
Alex Polta, resigned last Friday, April8. He’d been with the office since 2017. Polta was at the center of a separate contempt of court hearing for the circuit attorney’s office.