ST. LOUIS – After mounting legal battles, former St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner stepped down in May. A new report from the Missouri Attorney General uncovers more about what led up to her resignation.
One day after releasing the report, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey spoke one-on-one with FOX 2, further explaining the actions that led up to his efforts to remove Gardner from office.
“She came to office dedicated to the proposition of reducing mass incarceration by simply not doing her job,” says Bailey. “It was a radical social experiment that had radical consequences for the people of Missouri and the City of St. Louis.”
Bailey and his former deputy attorney general, Bill Corrigan, say that Gardner was enrolled in nursing classes for her masters through St. Louis University for two years, avoiding her duties as circuit attorney.
Bailey says people died, were injured, and “hundreds” of businesses left St. Louis because of her “unlawful refusal to do her job.” He claims Gardner did not keep families informed of developments in cases, and lawyers simply did not show up at hearings.
“She was not charging new offenses reported by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department,” says Bailey. “There were more than 4,000 cases pending that she had not looked at; 96% of crimes reported did not result in her office issuing criminal charges.”
The Missouri Attorney General says his staff, led by Judge Bill Corrigan, moved into her office the same day she resigned.
“We had a team of seven lawyers and what we tried to determine that day is how do we restore the rule of law,” says Corrigan “How do we protect the city of St. Louis? We reopened the warrant office. We sat down with trial teams to make sure they were prepared and had the resources they needed.”
Gardner was first elected to her office in 2017 and reelected in 2020. But controversies, staffing shortages, prosecutions and dropped charges were among the problems Gardner’s circuit attorney’s office faced.
Bailey filed a quo warranto lawsuit last winter in an effort to removed Gardner from office. This happened just days after a driver, who out on bond for a pending robbery case, failed to yield and collided with another vehicle, which struck out-of-state teenager Janae Edmondson. Both of her legs were amputated after the collision.
Gardner resigned in May, and Bailey says it’s important to avoid disclosures about her office.
Bailey is also considering further action pertaining to Gardner. When the new Missouri legislative session begins in January, Bailey says he will make recommendations for legislative changes to take effect that prevent elected officials to run again for office if they are removed or resign.
At the time of this report, the attorney general’s office had not returned our inquiry into the cost to taxpayers and manpower used to undertake Kim Gardner.