Governor's mistress allowed to testify, but experts barred

Governors mistress allowed to testify but experts barred

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - A St. Louis judge allowed Gov. Eric Greitens' former mistress to testify at the governor's upcoming invasion of privacy trial, but barred three witnesses prosecutors planned on calling as experts.

Judge Rex Burlison said the mismanagement of evidence and sworn testimony given about it by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's private investigator, William Don Tisaby, would be dealt with after the trial. Burlison, however, denied the defense team's motion to keep the former mistress and a friend she confided in after her sexual encounter with Greitens in 2015 from testifying because of Tisaby's mistakes.

Defense attorneys renewed their attacks on Tisaby in court on Monday. They claimed that because Tisaby invoked his right against self-incrimination in a court-ordered deposition two weeks ago, they could not learn more about interviews he conducted with the former mistress.

Greitens is accused of taking a picture of the woman in March 2015 during a sexual encounter in his basement. The woman claimed she was blindfolded and tied to a pull-up bar when she saw a flash and heard a camera click, and she accused Greitens of threatening to release the photo if she spoke about the affair.

Chief trial assistant Robert Dierker admitted that the state still does not have the photo in question, nor does it have evidence outside the former mistress' testimony that it was transmitted anywhere. 

Burlison granted the defense's request to strike three witnesses from the case, which is scheduled to start next Monday. That includes Mary Anne Franks, a University of Miami professor who studies what she described as "image-based sexual abuse." Defense attorney Michelle Nasser said that Franks did not give an opinion on the case in her deposition, which is necessary for an expert witness to testify.

Burlison also barred Robert Zeidman and Nickolaus Baer from speaking about the possible use of an iPhone in the case. Prosecutors said Zeidman would have testified about how the transmission of a photo goes from data to an actual picture on the phone's storage. Baer, according to assistant circuit attorney Robert Steele, could speak about the distinct sound of an iPhone's shutter when it's used to take a picture.

Burlison said both issues would be decided by the jury, not a witness. He did allow the state to call them as witnesses if either issue is raised during the case.

Jury selection is scheduled to start Thursday in St. Louis. Burlison said he will decide whether or not to rule on the case from the bench after the selection process.

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