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Missouri House drops lawsuit against pro-Greitens groups

Gov. Eric Greitens, at top left, faces a state House committee investigation led by Jay Barnes, at bottom left. The other committee members at at right.
The Mo. House committee that's been investigating Greitens had subpoenaed documents from two groups alligned with the former governor.

The Missouri House committee that's been investigating former Gov. Eric Greitens has done an about-face.

A motion was filed by the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight late Wednesday to drop its lawsuit seeking records from A New Missouri and Greitens for Missouri.

A hearing in the suit, scheduled Thursday before Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem, has been canceled.

No reason was given for the decision. But there have been some questions raised about the committee’s jurisdiction once the governor resigned. In a brief statement provided by the court, committee attorney Mark Kempton said it "reserves the right to refile it at a later date."

On May 29, Beetem ordered A New Missouri and Greitens for Missouri to turn over all documents being subpoenaed by the House committee by 1 p.m. on Friday, June 1. But Beetem stayed that order when that date arrived, citing the "extraordinary events of this week" after Greitens announced he would resign.

Responding for the Greitens camp, attorney Catherine Hanaway said in a brief statement, "Our motion for reconsideration was so persuasive that the House dismissed its case."

The committee, chaired by Republican Rep. Jay Barnes of Jefferson City, has been investigating Greitens since late February. It released a series of reports that focused on an extramarital affair he had with his former hairdresser, and on his use of a charity-donor list to raise money for his campaign.

The purpose of the now-dropped lawsuit was to obtain documents that committee members thought might contain evidence of illegal fundraising.

Greitens said on several occasions that he's innocent of any wrongdoing, and that the reports of the committee were part of a witch hunt that included criminal charges filed against him by St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner.

Greitens resigned as governor June 1, still proclaiming his innocence. On Wednesday, Gardner released the full agreement of a deal to drop a charge of misusing a charity donor list in exchange for him resigning. In that agreement, Greitens said there was evidence to bring a case against him.

Follow Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.