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Former Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, legal roundtable discuss Greitens’ felony case, trial

(L-R) Mark Smith, Jennifer Joyce and William Freivogel discussed current issues pertaining to the law.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio
(L-R) Mark Smith, Jennifer Joyce and William Freivogel discussed current issues pertaining to the law.

Former St. Louis circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce joined our Legal Roundtable on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, alongside recurring guests Mark Smith, associate vice chancellor of students at Washington University, and William Freivogel, journalism professor at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Host Don Marsh discussed current issues pertaining to the law with the panel of legal experts. Topics addressed include updates in the trial facing Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, the unconstitutionally high caseloads public defenders have in St. Louis Countyand Attorney General Josh Hawley’s inquiry into the Mission Continues.

The panel touched on various updates and aspects Greitens’ trial. Joyce said it is “unusual” that a defendant requests a bench trial and is denied. A bench trial is a trial by judge, as opposed to a jury.

“I think it’s very interesting, both the fact that the governor wanted a bench trial … but also the fact that the judge is insisting that it be a jury trial in the city of St. Louis,” Joyce said.

She noted that the governor is facing a Class D felony charge and acknowledged that the case is “not the most serious” litigation to be settled by a jury.

“However, when you’re the sitting governor, and you’re saying you didn’t commit a crime, why are you closing the public out of this decision?” she added.

With such a high profile case, the topic of cameras in the courtroom was debated. Smith said cameras would be a distraction in the courtroom, despite the advancement in technology and more discreet equipment.

“I still worry,” Smith said. “I just keep thinking of the O.J. Simpson trial and what a train wreck that turned into.”

The governor is also facing trouble related to his charity the Mission Continues. Greitens was accused in 2016 of improperly using the nonprofit’s mailing list to solicit donations for his political campaign. Attorney General Josh Hawley is investigating the matter and has issued 15 subpoenas.

Freivogel said the investigation is creating additional legal problems for the governor.

“It seems very clear from [Greitens’] settlement with the Missouri Ethics Committee that he had initially misled or lied about supposedly not having had this list from the charity to use as his political fundraising basis,” Freivogel said.

Other topics discussed:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex HeuerEvie Hemphill andLaraHamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.


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Lara is the Engagement Editor at St. Louis Public Radio.
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