A group of community advocates who support St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner will rally at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 27 at City Hall to issue a set of demands to various authorities.
They will demand that Mayor Lyda Krewson fire St. Louis City Counselor Julian Bush, that Bush and the city stop obstructing the payment of Gardner’s legal fees, that the courts appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Gardner’s allegation of Tampering with a Judicial Official, and that Judge Mike Mullens lift the gag order in an investigation of Gardner’s office.
That is according to Jerryl Christmas, an attorney and former prosecutor and former candidate for circuit attorney. Christmas was summarizing plans made at a meeting at St. Paul AME Church. Rev. Spencer Lamar Booker of St. Paul and other clergy, including Rev. Phillip Duvall, are standing in support of Gardner, along with Adolphus Pruitt of the St. Louis NAACP, John Chasnoff and Jamala Rogers of the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Oppression, Zaki Baruti of the Universal African Peoples Organization, civil rights activist Walle Amusa and others.
“Their attack on her has galvanized people around her,” Christmas said of Gardner. “It had the opposite effect as intended, because it was so obviously frivolous.”
Christmas is trying to describe a dizzying set of legal maneuvers in connection to the circuit attorney, the first black person elected to that position. It might help to work backwards from the “frivolous” matter that Christmas mentioned.
Christmas and the coalition believe that William Tisaby was indicted by a grand jury on a “frivolous” charge, to which he pleaded innocent. He was handed multiple perjury charges for statements made when testifying – not in court – but in a deposition to lawyers for Eric Greitens, then Missouri governor. Tisaby’s testimony was not material to establishing the facts in the case, which did not result in a conviction anyway. Gardner had charged Greitens for felony invasion of privacy, based on testimony by the alleged victim, then later dropped that and another felony charge.
Tisaby is a former FBI agent (African-American, like Gardner) she contracted to investigate Greitens when, she said, St. Louis police would not. Tisaby is being prosecuted by a private attorney, Gerard Carmody, appointed by Circuit Judge Mike Mullens. The judge was handed the case by City Counselor Julian Bush and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Carmody, the special prosecutor appointed by the judge, went to high school with and remains friends with one of Greitens’ attorneys, Ed Dowd.
That is relevant, given that it was Dowd’s client, Greitens, whom Tisaby investigated and Gardner charged. Further, Gardner claims that Greitens’ legal team should be investigated for Tampering with a Judicial Officer for threats to her career that she claims were made during the Greitens investigation. She claims police would not investigate this allegation, and her attempt to use her own authority to compel the appointment of a special prosecutor is stalled in the courts.
Meanwhile, in the ongoing investigation of her own office by a special prosecutor appointed by the court (on the urging of the mayor’s city counselor and police), Bush and the city have tried to block the city from paying for her defense, and Judge Mullens has issued a gag order. Gardner has been silenced in her own defense.
That motivated and explains the tangled web of demands now being made – and why Gardner needs the community to make them in her silence.
“The malicious prosecution of Tisaby is part of a vendetta against Kim Gardner because of the Greitens case,” Christmas said. “They overcharged him to try to get him to flip on her and manufacture some allegations about her. He is being used as a pawn to embarrass the circuit attorney and try to prevent her getting reelected.”
Christmas said it was odd to be protesting in support of his adversary.
“I’m a defense attorney,” Christmas said. “I go up against her and her staff in court every day. But this is not right. This is people just totally manipulating the criminal justice system and trying to turn the whole system against her.”