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Lawyer says texts show Confide use by Greitens' staffers

Lawyer says texts show Confide use by Greitens' staffers

June 20th, 2018 by Associated Press in Missouri News

Gov. Eric Greitens reads from a prepared statement as he announces his resignation effective 5 p.m. Friday, June 1, 2018, during a hastily called press conference Tuesday, May 29, 2018, in his Capitol office in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — An attorney suing former Gov. Eric Greitens and his staffers said recently uncovered texts show two former employees used a message-deleting app to communicate about state policy.

Screenshots show former deputy legislative directors Brad Green and Jeff Earl texted about talking points on a prescription drug monitoring policy, the Kansas City Star reported.

According to the screenshots obtained by the newspaper, Green texted Earl he "can't see your edits very well on Confide." Earl responded by sending Green photos of a document titled "PDMP-Talking Points."

An attorney suing Greitens and his staff for alleged open records violations told the newspaper the texts show governor's office employees discussed state business on the Confide app. The app automatically deletes messages after they are read and prevents recipients from saving, forwarding, printing or taking screenshots of messages.

"The Office of Governor has always denied using Confide to conduct public business, and especially substantive public business, discussions of public policy or the like," said Mark Pedroli, one of the attorneys who sued. "These screenshots demonstrate the opposite, that the Office of Governor was using Confide to conduct substantial public business."

Attorneys representing the former governor and his staffers in the lawsuit didn't immediately respond to requests from the Associated Press for comment Wednesday.

Greitens resigned earlier this month amid allegations of personal and political misconduct, but the lawsuit over Confide is ongoing. Pedroli brought the lawsuit last year on behalf of St. Louis attorney Ben Sansone, who had filed an open records request for documents associated with use of the app in the governor's office.

Governor's office attorneys provided the screenshots to Pedroli last week as part of the lawsuit. However, Pedroli on Tuesday hit a roadblock in gathering evidence when Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem denied several of his requests to force the governor's office to turn over additional information.