Government & Politics

Both sides in House probe of Greitens approached ex-justice. He went with committee

Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Edward "Chip" Robertson
Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Edward "Chip" Robertson Bartimus Frickleton Robertson & Rader

Before he officially signed on as special counsel to the House committee investigating allegations of wrongdoing by Gov. Eric Greitens, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Edward "Chip" Robertson was approached to represent the governor.

Robertson said he was already speaking with the chairman of the House investigative committee, Republican Rep. Jay Barnes of Jefferson City, when he was called by Greitens’ taxpayer-funded general counsel, Lucinda Luetkemeyer.

“I told them I’d consider it, but that I had already talked to Rep. Barnes about working with the House committee,” Robertson told The Star. “They wanted to know whether I’d consider joining if asked.”

He said he wasn’t clear exactly what job they had in mind, but he told them he’d call them back if he was interested. He ultimately decided against calling them back.

“I was flattered to be asked, but I’d been talking with Rep. Barnes, and thought at that point I’d probably gone too far even if I was inclined to represent the governor,” he said.

Parker Briden, Greitens’ press secretary, said in an email to The Star that the governor’s office has “had conversations with several lawyers who were interested in potentially serving as counsel to the office of the Governor. There was never any offer made to Mr. Robertson.”

He did not address what role the office thought Robertson could fill.

A new report contains allegations that Gov. Eric Greitens lied about and misused a charity donor list.

Robertson was brought on as special counsel for the Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, a bipartisan committee formed by House Speaker Todd Richardson.

The committee’s investigation is the first step toward possible impeachment. It has released two reports so far. The first detailed accusations of coercive and violent sexual misconduct, and the second alleged that he illegally used a charity’s donor list for his campaign and lied about it to the state’s ethics commission.

On Wednesday night, in response to complaints from Greitens' campaign attorney, Catherine Hanaway, that the investigative committee hadn't interviewed top campaign aides before releasing its findings, Robertson issued a statement saying the committee would "accept Ms. Hanaway’s offer and will issue subpoenas to the appropriate persons within the campaign."

Robertson said he decided to assist the committee without compensation because he thought it was important to sort fact from fiction in the allegations facing the governor.

“I’m interested in one thing and one thing only, and that’s figuring out the truth,” he said. “I think anyone who goes into this with an agenda is doing a disservice. I plan to play it straight down the middle.”

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