State prosecutors backed by George Soros have descended on St. Louis to rally around the city's top prosecutor before she appears in court to testify about her role in an investigation into former Missouri governor Eric Greitens.
A group of six liberal prosecutors from across the country joined Kim Gardner, St. Louis's first black circuit attorney, on Tuesday for a rally at the Carnahan Courthouse ahead of her Wednesday appearance in a deposition involving her role in investigating Greitens. Gardner was also generously backed by Soros in her race.
The current controversy centers around a private investigator Gardner tapped to investigate claims against Greitens, who resigned in June 2018. The investigator, former FBI agent William Tisaby, was accused of lying under oath, and Gardner's communications and involvement with him are now the subject of a separate investigation.
The convergence of the prosecutors, all supported by the same patron, demonstrates the emergence of a national alliance united by shared goals of overhauling the U.S. criminal justice system with an eye toward reducing or eliminating sentences for drug offenders and others.
Aramis Ayala, the state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties in Florida, was on hand to support Gardner. Ayala was backed by $1.4 million from Soros. Stephanie Morales, a Virginia commonwealth attorney, was also in attendance and received $100,000 from Soros's Justice & Public Safety PAC. Diana Becton, a prosecutor in Contra Costa County in California, also benefited from $1.5 million the financier poured into the state to support progressive prosecutors.
"Kim, like the others that stand before you today, has challenged the status quo and the keepers of the status quo don't like that, which is why she's being personally and professionally attacked," said Baltimore state's attorney Marilyn Mosby, who was also in attendance. "We are here to tell Kim and everyone else we shall not only overcome, but collectively we shall prevail in reforming the criminal justice system."
The group also appeared at Harris Stowe State University for a criminal justice reform forum. Whitney Tymas, the longtime treasurer for Soros's justice PACs, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Gardner's ordeal stems from using Tisaby instead of police to look into claims that the former Missouri governor took a photo of a partially nude woman with whom he was having an affair and allegedly threatened to share it without her permission. In early 2018, Gardner's office indicted Greitens on felony invasion of privacy charges.
However, Gardner's office dropped the investigation after Greitens's attorneys accused Tisaby of lying during a deposition. Tisaby was later charged with perjury. Questions then began to emerge about Gardner's role in the investigation after she did not correct or report Tisaby's inaccuracies.
Gardner, who has been dodging a sworn deposition before a grand jury for months, was in December ordered by a judge to testify on her role in the matter. She will do so on Wednesday.
Gardner has since filed a federal lawsuit over what she alleges is a "racist conspiracy" by the city, local police union, and others to push her from her position.
Gardner characterized her situation as "a racially motivated conspiracy to deny the civil rights of racial minorities by obstructing a government official’s efforts to ensure equal justice under law for all. The stakes are high. This case cries out for federal enforcement."