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Testimony in Greitens custody case will now be through a private deposition

Helen Wade, (second from right) attorney for Sheena Chestnut Greitens (seated on the right) gestures to Eric Greitens' attorney Gary Stamper on Friday, July 15, 2022, during a family court hearing held by Judge Leslie Schneider at the Boone County Courthouse in Columbia.
Don Shrubshell
Columbia Tribune/Pool
Helen Wade, center, attorney for Sheena Chestnut Greitens, right, speaks with Eric Greitens attorney Gary Stamper on Friday during a family court hearing held by Judge Leslie Schneider at the Boone County Courthouse in Columbia.

Further testimony in the ongoing child custody case between Eric and Sheena Greitens will now take place through a closed deposition.

During a court hearing Friday, Boone County Judge Leslie Schneider agreed to the deposition, though she at one point suggested testimony happen that day.

Sheena Greitens’ attorney, Helen Wade, said the testimony can be through a deposition.

“But because it will be a deposition, it will be closed, and we would be able to submit the transcript to you as an exhibit for your consideration so we could deal with the issues that remain between the parties,” Wade said.

Wade said she would like the opportunity to ask Eric Greitens questions under oath, adding that his attorney, Gary Stamper, would have the same ability to ask Sheena Greitens questions.

Stamper, though he eventually agreed to the deposition, questioned the need for one as opposed to submitting affidavits.

“I sincerely question the scope of the inquiry since there are no rules of evidence in a deposition and I'm genuinely concerned about released disclosure collateral use. I don't think a deposition is necessary to any issue before you,” Stamper said.

One of the reasons given against hearing public testimony on Friday was it would not be in the best interest of the Greitens children. Another reason was the absence of the children’s guardian for the case.

Sheena Chestnut Greitens appears in family court on Friday, July 15, 2022, during a hearing held by Judge Leslie Schneider at the Boone County courthouse. Sheena and Eric Greitens are battling out custody of their children after allegations of abuse by the former Missouri governor.
Don Shrubshell
Columbia Tribune/Pool
Sheena Chestnut Greitens appears in family court on Friday during a hearing in Columbia. Sheena and Eric Greitens are fighting for custody of their children.

The hearing Friday was to be part of an effort by Sheena Greitens to move the case to Austin, Texas, where she now works. The case has received increased attention due to Eric Greitens’ candidacy for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate seat. She has asked for the case to be moved because she is concerned about the scrutiny it has generated and the former governor’s potential influence in the state.

Eric and Sheena Greitens announced their divorce in April 2020, nearly two years after he resigned as governor amid a series of scandals. One was an allegation he took a compromising picture of a woman he had an affair with to blackmail her. He denied taking a picture or threatening blackmail.

In a sworn statement in March, Sheena Greitens said he admitted to her that he took the photo.

In that same court filing, she accused Greitens of abusing her and their children, including instances in which he threatened to kill himself and threatened her.

In one example, Sheena Greitens said he knocked her down and confiscated her cellphone, wallet and keys during an argument.

Eric Greitens has denied the allegations, accusing her of working with national Republican figures like Sen. Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove in a conspiracy to sink his Senate candidacy.

Despite the denials, some Democrats and Republicans have called for Greitens to drop out of the Senate race. He is currently one of the top candidates with less than a month to go before the Aug. 2 Republican primary. Some of those politicians include fellow Senate candidates Eric Schmitt and Vicky Hartzler, as well as current U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley.

Eric Greitens’ political career again crossed over into the custody case after he released a viral “RINO Hunting” ad. During a hearing in late June, Wade asked for a statement from Greitens condemning any violence against Sheena Greitens as a result of the ad.

Wade said the ad had led to serious threats against Sheena Greitens. In a statement after the hearing that day, Stamper said he and Eric Greitens looked at the examples of threats provided by Wade, and while they did not believe the examples were threats, they condemned them anyway.

The closed deposition is scheduled for Wednesday.

Follow Sarah Kellogg on Twitter: @sarahkkellogg

Sarah Kellogg is a Missouri Statehouse and Politics Reporter for St. Louis Public Radio and other public radio stations across the state.