Embattled St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner managed to complicate her situation further by failing to appear in court Wednesday.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and her Kansas City lawyer didn’t show up Wednesday in their fight to oust a special prosecutor investigating Gardner. https://t.co/CexCp6RYtz
— FOX2now (@FOX2now) September 26, 2019
Gardner’s scheduled appearance was related to her own office’s efforts to disqualify special prosecutor Jerry Carmody, and had reportedly been discussed both with Gardner and her Kansas City-based attorney Dawn Parsons in order to make sure that the date and time met with their approval.
According to a report from St. Louis Fox affiliate KTVI, Judge Joan Moriarty gave Gardner the benefit of the doubt, leaving the courtroom to double check email and voicemail messages just in case there had been some attempt by Gardner or her attorney to notify the court that they would not make it to the scheduled court date — but there was no message:
Judge Moriarty confirmed after going into chambers to check her email and voicemail. She hadn’t heard from anyone about why they wouldn’t attend the hearing. She said she would set another hearing date without their input. She added that she wouldn’t change it even if Gardner and her lawyer Parsons later say they can’t make it. She stopped short of dismissing the case entirely.
The only representative from Gardner’s office to appear was an assistant circuit attorney, whom Judge Moriarty did not allow to speak because no arrangements had been made for a surrogate to appear in that fashion.
Gardner fired back with a statement from her office, claiming that sending a surrogate for a routine hearing was a well-established practice and blamed the court for not abiding by that.
Carmody, who did attend Wednesday’s court date, called the move “unprofessional” on Gardner’s part. Carmody has been tasked with investigating Gardner’s office pursuant to her case against former Missouri Republican Governor Eric Greitens.
Greitens resigned in 2018 after allegations of a sexual misconduct were brought against him, but the private investigator Gardner hired to help make the case against Greitens was later charged with multiple felonies allegedly committed during that investigation.
The private investigator, William Don Tisaby, was charged in mid-June with six counts of perjury and one count of felony evidence tampering, which led to the grand jury investigation into Gardner’s office to determine whether she had direct knowledge of Tisaby’s actions. According to the 30-page indictment, Gardner was physically present during at least one of the instances of perjury and she made no move to correct the record.
In addition to skipping this court date, Gardner has refused to cooperate with a legal search warrant. So far, the investigation into Tisaby’s alleged perjury and Circuit Attorney Gardner’s office has cost Missouri taxpayers nearly $400,000.
And throughout all of that, Gardner has also been embroiled in a battle with her own police department. (RELATED: St. Louis In Turmoil As Circuit Attorney Publicly Undermines Her Own Police Department)
Gardner made headlines when, nearly a year ago, she delivered a list of names to the St. Louis Metro Police Department. The officers she named were placed on a “no-prosecution” list, meaning that her office would not pursue any cases presented or evidence delivered by any of the officers named.
According to St. Louis Police Officers Association spokesman Jeff Roorda, Gardner did not hold any hearings to root out the corruption she claimed her list was aimed at fighting. She made no effort to have the officers she claimed were corrupt removed from duty. Instead, she focused on criminal justice reform efforts like ending cash bail and refusing to pursue prosecution over small amounts of marijuana — a focus that she claimed was paying off as recently as mid-July.
Despite Gardner’s claims, St. Louis has seen an alarming uptick in crime. Some 12 children have died as a result of gun violence since April, and city officials have met with Missouri Republican Governor Mike Parson in an effort to determine the best next move.
One of their solutions, supported by Governor Parson, is to move a number of Missouri Highway Patrol officers into the city in order to assist city police officers — but the last time the MHP chipped in to help St. Louis, Gardner refused to prosecute the vast majority of the tickets those officers issued.
Last time they came, MHP wrote approximately 4,000 tickets, which St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner refused to prosecute. https://t.co/3M7XOU1PFR
— 97.1 FM Talk (@971FMTalk) September 23, 2019
Roorda blamed, at least in part, Gardner’s insistence on pushing criminal justice reform at the cost of actual criminal justice, calling for her removal in early September.
— 97.1 FM Talk (@971FMTalk) September 9, 2019
Roorda was joined by a statement of no confidence from National Fraternal Order Of Police President Patrick Yoes.
????STATEMENT from FOP President Patrick Yoes: Police in St. Louis are losing confidence and patience with Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner pic.twitter.com/MfI9fqGvu4
— National FOP (@GLFOP) September 9, 2019
Roorda’s attacks on Gardner, as well as the SLPOA’s recent claims regarding the state of police vehicles in the St. Louis Metro fleet, have led to calls for his ouster as well.
— SLPOA (@SLPOA) September 23, 2019
— SLPOA (@SLPOA) September 23, 2019
Another @SLMPD car in service. This isn’t just embarrassing, this is dangerous. This same vehicle was also placed back in service without a functioning siren. #SubstandardWorkingConditions pic.twitter.com/3lLxVhYkDs
— SLPOA (@SLPOA) September 25, 2019
The NAACP has since banded with local faith groups to demand Roorda’s resignation, suggesting that his attacks on Gardner are racially motivated. They provided a copy of the letter they sent to the SLPOA to the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
In a letter to the union, the groups say Roorda’s language about St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner “incites violence and is dangerous to our communities,” and is bullying and threatening. Firing Roorda would “send a clear message that this type of conduct — by Roorda or anyone in the police union — will not be tolerated,” the letter says.
Roorda said that he had not yet seen the letter, and responded to calls for his ouster in a Friday segment with Marc Cox.
LISTEN (27:00 mark):