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Subpoenas hearing canceled

Subpoenas hearing canceled

House special committee withdraws its request for court to enforce subpoenas — for now

June 7th, 2018 by Bob Watson in Missouri News

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens reads from a prepared statement as he announces his resignation during a news conference, Tuesday, May 29, 2018, at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. Greitens resigned amid a widening investigation that arose from an affair with his former hairdresser. Greitens said his resignation would take effect Friday, June 1, 2018.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

The Missouri House special committee formed to investigate now-former Gov. Eric Greitens' legal situation has ended its request for a court to order the production of some documents — at least for now.

That move cancels a hearing that was scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday.

In a letter dated Wednesday and emailed to Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem, former Pettis County Prosecutor Mark Kempton voluntarily dismissed the committee's petition asking the court to enforce the subpoenas that lawmakers had served on the Greitens for Missouri campaign committee and on A New Missouri, the not-for-profit organization formed to support Greitens' work as governor and his initiatives.

Noting Greitens' resignation last week, Kempton wrote: "In view of the extraordinary action of Eric R. Greitens, the (House) Special Investigative Committee on Oversight is reviewing its options with respect to obtaining the requested records.

"The (committee) believes the requested records are relevant to its charge and should be produced for the committee and all Missourians to see. However, the committee has determined to withdraw its pending request as it reviews its options."

Beetem told the News Tribune on Wednesday evening he had received Kempton's email, "so the matter is concluded."

Kempton and former Missouri Supreme Court judge Edward D. "Chip" Robertson were named special counsel by the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight in late April.

In May, the committee, chaired by state Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, issued subpoenas for records from the two groups related to Greitens.

A New Missouri was formed under federal IRS regulations that allow it to hide the identities of its donors — what some people have called a dark money organization.

Kempton filed suit May 17, asking the court to enforce those subpoenas, and on May 29, after hearing arguments in the case May 23, Beetem ordered the two groups to produce the information.

He wrote: "The Court further finds and believes that time is of the essence and production should begin immediately and, absent good cause shown, said production should be completed by June 1, 2018."

Greitens announced his plans to resign that afternoon and, last Friday, former House Speaker and U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway — who represented the two groups in the House lawsuit —asked Beetem both to stay and to reconsider his order requiring the documents to be produced, because "at 5:01 p.m. (Friday) there will be no more Governor Greitens to investigate."

Beetem stayed his order pending the hearing that was scheduled for Thursday.

However, he also wrote: "Nothing in this order should be read to suggest that, should the Motion for Reconsideration be denied, the Court will not require immediate compliance with the original order (to produce documents) upon dissolution of the stay order."

Kempton's motion noted the dismissal of their case was without prejudice, meaning it could be refiled at a future date.