Government & Politics

Subpoena issued for AG Hawley’s investigation records on Greitens’ secret texting app

Attorney General Josh Hawley was issued a subpoena this week asking for all documents related to his investigation into Gov. Eric Greitens' use of Confide.
Attorney General Josh Hawley was issued a subpoena this week asking for all documents related to his investigation into Gov. Eric Greitens' use of Confide. file photo

Attorneys suing Gov. Eric Greitens have issued a subpoena demanding Attorney General Josh Hawley turn over all documents connected to his investigation into the governor's uses of a self-destructing text message app.

Mark Pedroli and Ben Sansone sued the governor's office in December accusing Greitens and his staff of engaging in an ongoing conspiracy to violate Missouri’s open records laws by using Confide, an app that deletes text messages after they’ve been read.

Around the same time, Hawley launched his own investigation into Greitens' use of Confide to determine whether it was being used to destroy public records. The attorney general's inquiry ended in March with Hawley's office concluding there was no evidence of wrongdoing — in part because the app ensured there was no evidence.

Hawley has said his investigation was hamstrung from the beginning because the attorney general's office lacks subpoena power in Sunshine Law investigations. Because of that, the probe mostly consisted of interviews with eight members of Greitens' taxpayer-funded office who admitted using Confide, including some who said they used it for public business.

If lawmakers change the law to give his office subpoena power, Hawley said earlier this year, “we will reopen the Confide investigation.”

On Monday, Pedroli sent Hawley's office a subpoena asking for all the documentation from his Confide investigation.

"The attorney general conducted an investigation into the use of Confide," Pedroli said Tuesday. "He lamented he didn't have subpoena power. Our litigation is actively conducting an investigation into the governor's use of Confide. We have subpoena power. As a result, the AG should be doing whatever he can to assist our investigation, including giving me full access to the AG's Confide investigation file."

Mary Compton, Hawley's press secretary, said in an email to The Star that the attorney general's office "has received the subpoena and is reviewing it.”

Pedroli last month subpoenaed records from Confide Inc., hoping to get his hands on messages sent using the app but erased.

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