COLUMBIA, Mo. — Yesterday, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Tony Messenger rebuked Josh Hawley’s investigation into the Governor’s use of Confide for being “not so much an investigative report but a legal brush off that sends a signal that Hawley is too busy running for the U.S. Senate to stand up to his fellow Republican.” Messenger notes that the lawyer who filed the Confide lawsuit “says the ‘executive privilege’ asserted by Greitens and accepted by Hawley doesn’t exist in Missouri law,” and that he intends to get the answers Hawley couldn’t — or wouldn’t — find. Former Missouri Supreme Court justice and SLU law school dean confirmed yesterday that there is no such thing as executive privilege in Missouri law.
Josh Hawley is about to get a lesson in the law.
Missouri’s attorney general, a former law professor at the University of Missouri, plays a starring role in a new legal filing in the civil lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court accusing Gov. Eric Greitens of violating state Sunshine and records retention laws.
But it’s likely not a role Hawley relishes.
A couple of weeks ago, Hawley’s office completed its investigation into the same topic. At issue is the use of the mobile phone app Confide on the governor’s phone, and those of his top staff members. The five-page document is not so much an investigative report but a legal brush off that sends a signal that Hawley is too busy running for the U.S. Senate to stand up to his fellow Republican.
As a sign of how proud Hawley was of his Confide investigation, it can’t be found anywhere on his website. He didn’t issue a news release with breathless quotes about how he was standing up for the people, like he does after most investigations.
But at least one person found some legal value in Hawley’s report.
The Clayton attorney is the one who filed the lawsuit on the governor’s use of Confide on behalf of his clients, The Sunshine Project and fellow Clayton lawyer Ben Sansone.
…Pedroli says the “executive privilege” asserted by Greitens and accepted by Hawley doesn’t exist in Missouri law. The governor is supposed to respond to a series of written questions due next week, under oath, Pedroli says. After that, he expects to seek Greitens’ deposition.
Unlike Hawley, he expects to get the governor to answer his questions, and the attorney general’s shoddy legal analysis might be all the leverage Pedroli needs.