COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Lawyers for former Missouri governor Eric Greitens and his ex-wife Sheena Chestnut Greitens argued during a Tuesday morning hearing over whether phone records of Sheena Greitens and several other people are relevant to the family's child custody case.
Sheena Greitens filed an affidavit in March to move the family's court proceedings from Boone County to Travis County, Texas, where she lives and works. The affidavit garnered attention because it detailed times Eric Greitens allegedly physically abused Sheena Greitens and the couple's children.
Eric Greitens publicly claimed the affidavit contains many lies that his ex-wife put together with his political opponents to sabatoge his campaign for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. In order to prove his assertion, Eric Greitens and his lawyer, Gary Stamper, subpoenaed phone records from Feb. 1 to March 31.
Among those subpoenaed are Eric Greitens' former aide Austin Chambers and Sheena Greitens' sister Catherine Linkul. The two and Sheena Greitens' attorney, Helend Wade, filed motions to cancel the subpoenas. Those motions were heard Tuesday by Boone County Judge Leslie Schnieder.
Wade and the lawyers for Chambers and Linkul argued the phone records are not relevant in the family's case. Lawyers opposed to the subpoena said Chambers and Linkul are fourth parties, uninvolved in the family's case.
To show the judge the relevance of these and other phone records in the case, Stamper called into question how the press knew about the affidavit so soon. Sheena Greitens filed the affidavit at 9:17 a.m. March 21, and by 10:17 a.m. the same day Eric Greitens received a call from an Associated Press reporter with questions about the affidavit. Stamper said he wants the court to check Sheena Greitens' phone records for contact with the Associated Press.
Stamper argued that some exhibits in the affidavit are "a deliberate falsehood advanced to gain advantage in [Sheena Greitens'] effort to remove the case from Missouri, was deliberately leaked for political purposes, and was not done for the benefit of the children."
In an effort to prove the affidavit was public on court records website CaseNet when the reporter contacted Eric Greitens, Wade called a Boone County circuit clerk to the stand for questioning.
The witness was cross-examined on the timeline the court posted the affidavit to the public website. Several pieces of evidence were admitted showing timestamps of when court documents were accessed on the website.
Wade said a major reason Sheena Greitens filed to move the case to Texas is that the state offers more privacy for family court documents than Missouri.
Schnieder's decision will come at a later date. She must consider the arguments and evidence presented by lawyers Tuesday and whether the phone records fall under the scope of discovery for this case, as defined by law.
Wade declined to comment after the hearing other than to say she and her client await and trust the judge's decision.
In a statement, Stamper said, "The only audience that matters now is the judge who approved the parties’ agreement and has the power to change it."
Eric Greitens was elected in 2016 and resigned in 2018 amid a sexual abuse scandal. He has consistently denied the abuse allegations.