ST. LOUIS (CN) – The St. Louis Police Department announced Tuesday that it will launch an investigation into perjury allegations against the private investigator hired by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office in the ill-fated invasion of privacy case against Gov. Eric Greitens.
Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner dropped the case Monday afternoon after Circuit Judge Rex Burlison ruled she could be called as a witness for the defense regarding William Don Tisaby’s actions while leading the investigation. Gardner left open the possibility that the case could be taken up again with a special prosecutor.
Greitens, 44, a Republican, was accused of taking a partially nude photo of a mistress and threatening to release the photo online if she ever spoke of the affair. Greitens has admitted to the affair, but denied taking the photo.
Greitens also faces a second felony computer tampering charge in the same court relating to the use of a donor list from a non-profit charity he created to solicit donations to his gubernatorial campaign. That case is still pending.
Schron Jackson, a police spokeswoman, said in an email Tuesday to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the department would open an investigation after officers met with Greitens’ defense lawyers Ed Dowd and Scott Rosenblum.
Throughout the invasion of privacy case, Greitens’ attorneys accused Tisaby, an ex-FBI agent, of lying under oath. The defense accused Tisaby of putting words in the mouth of witnesses and removing information favorable to Greitens from reports.
Tisaby said in a sworn statement that he didn’t take notes during his interviews but was caught on video taking notes. Tisaby used his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a second deposition.
Tisaby’s lawyer, Jermaine Wooten, said the claims have no merit.
“We maintain that Mr. Tisaby has done nothing wrong,” Wooten told the Post-Dispatch. “He did not perjure himself and I think the evidence will leave the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to not charge Mr. Tisaby with any wrongdoing.”
Gardner, who hired Tisaby to lead the investigation against Greitens, issued a statement stating she is not concerned about the police department’s investigation.
“There is not one shred of evidence that any action by Mr. Tisaby was illegal or materially impacted any evidence in this crime,” the statement read. “There is also no evidence that Mr. Tisaby was anything other than mistaken or confused during his deposition when he answered the questions improperly.”
Jim Miller, one of Greitens’ attorneys, said Tisaby’s actions have also tainted the pending computer tampering case against the embattled governor. He pointed out that only two of the 35 witnesses interviewed by Tisaby in Missouri were related to the invasion of privacy case, while the rest were involved in the computer tampering case.
“Every witness he talked to there has now become a tainted witness,” Miller told KTVI-TV.
In defending the hiring of Tisaby in March, Gardner’s office claimed it sought help from police, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, but received no cooperation, the Post-Dispatch reported.
St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden has disputed claims that he declined to help.
Greitens still faces possible impeachment as Missouri lawmakers will meet in a special session Friday to determine his fate.