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No incriminating photo found, lawyers say — Day 2 of jury selection continues

News crews sit outside the Civil Courts Building during the first day of jury selection in Gov. Eric Greitens' felony invasion of privacy trial. May 10, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Defense attorneys for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens say an examination of his phone has turned up no evidence of the photo at the center of his felony invasion of privacy trial.

Greitens is accused of taking a partially nude and nonconsensual photo of a woman with whom he was having an affair.

The governor’s attorneys said in court Friday that a third party reviewed 16,000 images and saw none connected to the woman. Furthermore, they said a technician found no evidence that a photo was deleted.

Jury selection continued for a second day Friday, a process that is taking longer than expected. So far, attorneys have asked 85 potential jurors about what they know about the case and where they got that information from, and sent 33 onto a second round of questioning. Judge Rex Burlison had hoped to complete that process for 160 people by the end of Friday.

“What [prosecution and defense attorneys] seem to be looking for are not people who know nothing about the case but are relatively low information about it,” St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann told St. Louis on the Air on Friday. said. “Maybe they’ve heard something in passing. They aren’t actively seeking out information.”

A fair number of the 52 jurors who were sent home had some kind of hardship, such as a medical condition or a planned vacation. Burlison told attorneys he will be generous in giving out hardships, because people who are worried about other issues generally don't make good jurors.

One juror who was eliminated worked for Wells-Fargo, and expressed some concern that the trial could impact the state's credit rating. Another compared Greitens to President Donald Trump. A third had a connection to the woman involved.

One juror who was picked for additional questioning did not know who the governor was.  Another was selected despite saying the case felt like a "witch hunt," and that what the governor was "in trouble for" was something that a normal person would do.

Burlison on Friday again expressed frustration with Ronald Sullivan, the Harvard Law professor who is working under contract with the prosecution.

At one point, when Sullivan laughed after Burlison ruled against him, the judge snapped: "I'm not impressed with your continual disrespect of the court." When Sullivan explained that something else amusing had popped into his head, Burlison replied, "Any time an attorney laughs after a ruling, that's a fair inference of disrespect. Have a seat."

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 and LaraHamdan 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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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.