Hawley says Greitens probe indicates potential felony
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley shrugged off an attempt by Gov. Eric Greitens to block his investigation into the governor's alleged use of a charity's donor list for political fundraising, calling Greitens' request for a restraining order "frivolous."
Hawley's office filed a response that sought to flick away arguments in Greitens' petition last week for a temporary restraining order, which called for a special prosecutor to replace Hawley.
Greitens argued that Hawley, by virtue of the fact that he called for Greitens' resignation on April 11, could not carry on with the investigation into the governor's handling of the donor list from The Mission Continues, a charity Greitens started.
Hawley's call for Greitens' resignation stems from an April 11 Missouri House investigative committee's report that contained claims of sexual coercion and violence against a woman with whom Greitens had an extramarital affair.
In a filing made available Monday, Hawley said his comments about the House report don't apply to the attorney general's investigation into The Mission Continues.
"Mr. Greitens' argument is frivolous, and his verified petition constitutes a vexatious attempt to interfere with the orderly pursuit of justice," says Hawley's response, filed in Cole County Circuit Court.
The latest volley between Hawley and Greitens represents a deepening chasm between two of Missouri's top elected Republican officials.
Hawley is challenging Claire McCaskill, the incumbent Democrat, for her seat in the U.S. Senate; Missouri Republicans fear Greitens' deepening legal issues are a millstone around the necks of GOP candidates in the 2018 mid-term election.
Greitens was charged Friday by the St. Louis circuit attorney's office with a felony count of computer tampering, related to allegations that Greitens improperly obtained the donor list from The Mission Continues, a veterans charity he founded in 2007, and used it to solicit campaign donations.
Hawley's filing said his office has issued 15 civil investigative demands, gathered hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and interviewed multiple key witnesses in its investigation.
Hawley last week announced that he lacked jurisdiction to file charges related to the charity and referred evidence to the St. Louis prosecutor.