St. Louis police, special prosecutor seize email server from Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office

In an interview with 5 On Your Side, Gardner called the move a coordinated effort to intimidate, embarrass and harass her office.

ST. LOUIS — The email server from the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office was briefly taken and then returned by police and a special prosecutor’s team on Tuesday.

According to the office, St. Louis Police and an attorney working with special prosecutor Gerard Carmody arrived and seized the server at approximately 3 p.m.

Once on site, the officers and the attorney reportedly could not determine what information or data they actually wanted to secure from the server, according to the circuit attorney’s office.

The server, which contains hundreds of thousands of highly sensitive files about past and current crimes, victims, defendants, and investigations, was returned about an hour later at 4 p.m.

In an interview with 5 On Your Side, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said she did not believe police or Carmody’s team had enough time to remove any useful information from the server, but she wasn’t totally sure.

RELATED: Gardner’s office continues to battle search warrant in perjury allegation from Greitens case

She did, however, blast the seizure as a coordinated effort to intimidate her and intentionally disrupt the workflow of her office.

“Look at the tactics used by the police department. That is their search warrant to intimidate, harass and embarrass this office. You affect our daily business and that’s a problem. I have a problem with that,” Gardner said.

In a statement provided earlier in the day, Gardner said the e-mail server is central to her office’s efforts to keep citizens safe. Without it, she said she and her team cannot do their jobs.

The seizure marked the latest development tied to a grand jury investigation that’s looking into perjury allegations against a special investigator Gardner’s office hired last year during the prosecution of former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.

The grand jury was convened in January to look into whether or not former FBI agent William Don Tisaby lied under oath during a deposition that was videotaped.

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All charges against Greitens have since been dropped. But his defense team brought the allegations of perjury involving Tisaby to St. Louis Police, which launched an investigation. 

It was decided by the courts that Gardner’s office had a conflict of interest, which is why Circuit Judge Michael Mullen appointed Carmody and his firm to serve as special prosecutor.

As part of his investigation, Gardner’s office said it has already complied with one search warrant seeking e-mails related to Tisaby over a six month period in 2018.

But she said the second search warrant from February was overly broad and would’ve netted confidential information and people and cases that are unrelated to Tisaby and the Greitens case.

Gardner’s team sought to have the search warrant squashed, but was overruled by Mullens in court. That’s why she appealed his decision to Missouri’s Eastern District Court of Appeals yesterday.

In court filings, Gardner said Mullen abused his power by issuing “a series of erroneous decisions that now threaten to allow the raid and seizure of massive amounts of confidential and irrelevant electronic information stored on the servers of the Circuit Attorney’s Office.”

The seizure of the server, however, took place after Mullen ruled the search warrant could be executed and “moments before” the appeals court said it could not “until further notice.”

Gardner would not directly comment on the timing of the search warrant’s execution, but didn’t disagree with the suggestion that it was strategically planned for that narrow window.

In the appeals court’s ruling, Mullen was given until March 22 to respond and revisit the issue.

Gardner’s team maintains they are not trying to impede the special prosecutor’s case, but are obligated the protect the information of everyone involved with their office.

Gardner stated she does not believe Tisaby committed perjury. Gardner said she can’t speak about whether she’ll be called to testify before the grand jury because it’s a secret proceeding.

Carmody and St. Louis Police declined comment.

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