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Hawley says he is still investigating Greitens

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, right, examines equipment as Patriot Machines vice president Robert Burns gives him a tour of the plant.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley says he is continuing to investigate former Gov. Eric Greitens for possible wrongdoing.

Hawley said Thursday that his office has two “open investigations” into Greitens, and that he is optimistic new Gov. Mike Parson’s staff will provide help, if needed.

One of the probes is looking into allegations that Greitens and his staff violated the state’s Sunshine Law, in part by using a texting app that erased messages immediately after they are read. At issue is whether office records that should have been retained were destroyed.

Hawley had come under fire for his office’s initial investigation into the matter, which concluded months ago that Greitens and his staff had likely not violated any open-records laws.

Hawley observed Thursday that the probe is continuing. “We had requested lots and lots of documents and information from the former governor’s staff which they did not provide before he left office,” he said. “We are working now to get that information.”

Parson’s new staff may help in that regard, Hawley said.

The second investigation, Hawley said, is a continued look into whether Greitens inappropriately used the donor list for a charity he helped create, called The Mission Continues, to help raise money for his campaign. 

In both probes, Hawley said, “If we find evidence of wrongdoing, criminal or otherwise, we will refer that to the appropriate authorities. And if we have jurisdiction, we will pursue it, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

A Missouri House committee has yet to say whether it will continue its own probe into Greitens. He was under threat of impeachment when he resigned June 1.

Hawley disputed any accusations that he had not been tough enough.

“I think the facts speak for themselves,’’ he said. “We conducted very thorough investigations, plural … We referred criminal charges against the former governor. And he is no longer in office.”

Hawley touts Trump support

Hawley’s comments came after a campaign event in St. Charles, where he toured Patriot Machine, Inc. The firm is owned by Judy and Robert Burns, who are strong Republican supporters of President Donald Trump.

Judy Burns, the company’s president, said she is particularly opposed to abortion. “We believe in God and country,’’ she said.

Hawley praised Trump in remarks to company workers, and later to reporters. “I am proud to have the president’s endorsement,” Hawley said. “I hope he’ll visit Missouri many times.”

Trump headlined a campaign event for Hawley in March and is expected to return to Missouri this summer.

Follow Jo on Twitter: @jmannies

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.