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Barnes lashes out at Greitens defense team, committee subpoenas governor

Rep. Jay Barnes and the Missouri House investigative committee announced Friday they subpoenaed Gov. Eric Greitens to appear before the committee June 4. (KRCG 13)

A Friday morning hearing on the examination of Gov. Eric Greitens' phone turned bitter after Greitens' legal team produced a document in apparent contradiction to its stated position.

The House panel investigating the governor spent more than an hour taking testimony from Brian Koberna, a forensic investigator with Troy, Ill.-based Applied Forensics. Koberna examined Greitens' phone this spring along with those of his former mistress and her then-husband.

The governor's former mistress claims he took a semi-nude photo of her and threatened to distribute it if she ever spoke of their affair. Koberna told the committee he found no evidence of such a photo on the governor's phone, but that doesn't mean a photograph never existed, nor does it mean Greitens could not have taken a photo with a different phone.

The turning point came when Rep. Curtis Trent, R-Springfield, asked Koberna about his examination of phones belonging to two associates of the woman and her ex-husband. Trent tried to enter into evidence a document summarizing this work. Barnes said the document had not been provided to the entire committee. Trent said he received it from Greitens' legal team. That prompted an angry exchange between Barnes and Michelle Nasser, an attorney on Greitens' legal team who was there to observe on behalf of lead defense attorney Ed Dowd.

Barnes said Dowd had yelled at him the previous day over production of evidence, with Dowd claiming he was under a court order not to provide further documents to the committee. Barnes and other committee members accused the Greitens defense team of only producing "cherry-picked evidence" and not the full truth.

"This is the Show-Me State," Barnes declared to Nasser. "You want us to look at evidence? Give all of the evidence to us."

Nasser repeatedly asked to speak in a closed session, refusing to answer Barnes' questions in open session. After arguing over the issue for nearly 30 minutes, the committee went into closed session to discuss the matter. When they came back, Barnes apologized to Nasser for attacking her over Dowd's actions. Nasser in response read a statement from Dowd in which he said he thought the committee had been given everything that had been turned over to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's office.

Nasser accepted Barnes' apology but later told reporters she had never been treated that way in her time as a federal prosecutor or as a private-practice attorney.

"He said that he wants this to be a truthful process where both sides are being heard, yet we cannot call our own witnesses," she said. "We can't object, we can't question anybody. This is not a truth-finding process."

The committee has subpoenaed Greitens to appear on June 4. It also has asked the woman whose photo he allegedly took to appear on June 5. Committee members said they don't yet know if they will open her testimony to the public.


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