A Missouri judge issued a partial gag order Tuesday in the invasion-of-privacy case against Gov. Eric Greitens, hours after an attorney for his former paramour accused him of waging a "smear campaign" against her.
Greitens, 44, is accused of taking and transmitting a non-consensual photo of the woman while she was partially nude in 2015, a year before he was elected governor. The woman, identified only as "K.S." claims Greitens threatened to make the photo public if she ever revealed the affair.
On Sunday, Greitens' attorneys filed documents claiming that the woman participated in a lengthy deposition Friday, during which she was asked if she saw what she believed to be a phone. The court filing quoted her as say, "I haven't talked about it because I don't know if it's because I'm remembering it through a dream or I — I'm not sure, but yes, I feel like I saw it after that happened."
The surge of publicity that followed the defense filing prompted St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to ask Judge Rex Burlison for a gag order, accusing Greitens' attorneys of trying the case through the media.
Burlison's order does not stop attorneys from speaking about public information in the case, but prohibits comments related to deposition material, opinions about what witnesses might testify to and other speculative issues. The ruling also will require the judge to sign off on certain court filings before they're made public.
Scott Simpson, an attorney for "K.S." argued that the Greitens team wants to discredit his client before she testifies at his trial that begins May 14. During the court session over the gag order, he accused Greitens' attorneys of "filing press releases in the form of motions."
One of Greitens' attorneys, Jack Garvey, said the motions are necessary to refute the allegations against the governor.
"We're not making up the facts or their lack of evidence," Garvey said.
Simpson told The AP that the "dream" comment came at the end of a nine-hour deposition and referred to one particular instance concerning the photo. He said Greitens told the woman several times that he had a photo, and he threatened to use it if she spoke of the affair.
"His statement to her was that if she ever mentioned his name or told anybody about this relationship, he would distribute the picture everywhere he could and it would be all over the place, the internet and otherwise," Simpson said.
Greitens has blamed Gardner, a Democrat, for a politically-motivated investigation that led to the grand jury indictment in February. He spent an estimated $50,000 on a recent statewide radio ad buy to make the case for staying in office despite the indictment. The ad, financed by Greitens' campaign fund, said liberals are "hell-bent on stopping his conservative reforms."
"Eric Greitens is on a conservative mission for Missouri and he won't stop until the mission is complete," the ad says.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.