COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A high-profile Missouri attorney will represent a Columbia man charged in connection with his wife's disappearance.
Scott Rosenblum of St. Louis will defend Joseph Elledge in a Boone County murder case. Rosenblum told ABC 17 News he looked forward to defending Elledge in court.
A grand jury indicted Elledge with first-degree murder on Feb. 28, four months after he reported his wife, Mengqi Ji, missing. Columbia police have embarked on an area-wide search for Ji's body. Authorities believe Elledge may have strangled Ji and disposed of her body, but so far have not found her body.
Rosenblum has represented many criminal cases that garnered attention. He led the jury selection on the team of attorneys that defended former Governor Eric Greitens in his invasion of privacy case. A jury acquitted one of Rosenblum's mid-Missouri clients, Mehrdad Fotoohighiam, in an arson case.
Elledge has not yet been arraigned on the murder charge. A hearing is not yet scheduled.
Criminal defense attorneys not involved in the Elledge case have questioned the evidence used to charge him with murder. Police found no blood at their apartment. While a law enforcement dog alerted authorities to the possible presence of a decomposing body at the Lamine River in Cooper County, search efforts have not turned up any remains.
Police said they believe Ji had no intention of leaving on her own. Many of her belongings remained at the apartment when they searched it in October. Recordings between the two show tense interactions, with Elledge claiming he wanted to get a divorce.
Elledge also faces charges of child abuse, child endangerment and third-degree domestic assault. He is represented by Kansas City-based attorney John O'Connor in that proceeding. That case is set for trial on April 6.