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Greitens' defense team says grand jury was given 'false and misleading' instructions

Posted March 20, 2018 5:28 p.m. EDT

— In a motion filed in court late Monday, the defense team representing Governor Eric Greitens says the grand jury in the case was given "false and misleading" instructions, asking a judge to dismiss the case on those grounds.

In court earlier Monday, Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Dierker called any such suggestion "patently frivolous."

Governor Greitens was indicted by a grand jury on February 22 for one count of felony invasion of privacy. Charging documents allege the Governor took a picture of a woman without her consent in a state of full or partial nudity. As a condition of the felony, the charge also states that the Governor "transmitted the image in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer."

In a seven-page motion, Greitens' defense team argues that Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Steele mislead the grand jury, through oral instructions on the law.

Read: Blackmail alleged as Gov. Greitens admits to extramarital affair

"Those instruction are flagrantly misleading and instructed the grand jury to find probable cause for the violation of a statute for which they had no proper understanding," the motion argues.

The motion appears to shed some light on the grand jury testimony of the key witness, the woman in question.

The motion says she "testified that she neither saw a camera nor a cell phone which could have been used to take the alleged photograph. Rather, she testified that she heard a sound similar to an iPhone camera."

The motion states witnesses were not asked about the transmission of a photo.

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It also references a deposition taken early Monday of the private investigator, William Tisaby, hired by prosecutors to work the case. The motion states: "Under oath he testified that he is unaware of anyone who has taken any steps to find evidence of a subsequent transmission of any alleged photo. He testified he is unaware of any witness who has information of a subsequent transmission. In fact, he also testified that he is unaware of any witness who has seen any photo as alleged in the indictment."

News 4 has reached out to the Circuit Attorney's Office, but have not yet heard back.

In a separate filing, the defense team asked the judge in the case for a hearing next Monday on whether to dismiss the case outright.

The defense is also asking the judge to move up the trial date from May 14 to the first week in April. In part, they cite the Missouri House of Representatives' investigation into the Governor's conduct.

"The Committee conducting the investigation has informed defense counsel that its goal is to issue a report on April 9th," the defense team wrote in a separate motion. "Resolution of the pending indictment before the issuance of any report by the Committee would be significantly influential in the conclusion reached by the Committee."

They've requested a hearing on that matter on Wednesday.

Lastly, the defense team has indicated they plan to waive a jury trial in the case, citing, in part, "negative press, particularly that caused by frequent communications" made by the attorney for one witness in the case, the victim's ex-husband. Though they do not refer to him by name, the motion is referencing Al Watkins, a local attorney who has spoken out about the case.