Last week, Catherine Hanaway — one of the battalion of lawyers involved in the Eric Greitens scandals — issued a press release critical of state Rep. Jay Barnes, the chair of the House committee investigating the Missouri governor.
Barnes’ transgression? Talking about the case with the FBI.
“Chairman Barnes — entrusted with the sacred responsibility of finding facts, not prosecuting a case — shared information with law enforcement before a full review of the matter,” Hanaway’s statement said.
What? Greitens hasn’t testified under oath about any of the allegations he faces. That’s hardly the posture of someone who wants a “full review” of the matter.
But Hanaway’s statement is troubling for another reason: Apparently, she thinks it’s wrong for Barnes to be talking with federal law enforcement agents.
That’s outrageous. Hanaway was once the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri. She depended on people talking with the FBI.
Now, to protect Greitens, she discredits the very process she used. As a former prosecutor, she should know better.
She isn’t alone.
Ed Dowd, a Greitens lawyer, has bitterly attacked the prosecutor’s office in St. Louis. He’s filed a police report against her office.Last week, he compared the impeachment effort to a “coup.”
Dowd’s legal efforts have angered Barnes, who accused the lawyer of lying to his committee last week.
Greitens deserves to have the lawyers he wants. But Hanaway, Dowd, Martin and Graves surely know the importance of finding facts. Attacking investigators and those who talk with them reflects poorly on their prior public service. It also could lead to wider distrust of law enforcement, including the FBI.
Greitens’ legal team should stick to defending their client’s behavior.
While we’re at it, the governor should come clean about the cost of his defense and the sources of money to pay all of his legal and public relations expenses.
Attorney General Josh Hawley thinks some taxpayer funding for lawyers defending the governor is improper. State Auditor Nicole Galloway has similar concerns.
We’re worried private interests with business before the state could defray some of the governor’s legal costs.
Missourians are owed an accounting of the money spent defending Greitens.
They’re also owed the facts about the governor’s behavior. They’re getting those facts, despite the unfortunate obfuscation by his lawyers.