Kim Gardner, St. Louis circuit attorney, appeared at the first hearing of Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey's case to remove her.
Judge John Torbitzky opened the hearing at 1:30 pm. He stated that there were a number of motions to be addressed and began by addressing Gardner's motion for dismissal.
Gardner's main Council Jonathan Sternberg first addressed Judge Torbitzky.
Gardner's attorneys asked the judge for a dismissal of the entire case. They said that Bailey must show proof she deliberately ignored her duties.
Sternberg also stated that the petition to remove her from office does not include any specific allegations of her refusing to perform her duties. He called the allegations "mistakes", and she denies all of them.
Sternberg stated that "this is an attack by someone who has never been elected on the democratic process."
Bailey's Office responded that willful neglect is when a public official "knows they need to do better, but they don't." Gardner's words echo his, where he acknowledged that they could have done more to help Janae Edwardson. She was the Tennessee volleyball star who lost both legs in an accident earlier this year.
Judge Torbitzky requested that the Attorney General's Office explain the difference between neglecting duty and performing duties badly. His office stated that repeatedly failing to appear in court can "add up" to neglect of duty and not just poor performance.
Bailey's office stated that "one act of negligence" would not be sufficient to justify removal. The judge was asked to consider Gardner's "pattern and practices of failure" collective evidence.
Torbitzky said that a trial might help determine Gardner's intention. It's scheduled for September 25 if the case is not dismissed.
Gardner's office had seven days to submit a written motion for dismissal. After reviewing Gardner's motion, a decision would be made "fairly soon".
The attorney representing the Circuit Attorney's Office said that the amount and scope of subpoenas issued by the Attorney General's Office was "breathtaking", and included information on criminal victims. Bailey's Office said that the Circuit Attorney's Office had not submitted any documents.
Judge Torbitzky stated that the Circuit Attorney's Office "kind of asserted an blanket privilege" in order to protect the records from Attorney General's discovery. Gardner's attorneys asked the court for a narrower scope before handing over information.
Her lawyers claimed that it would require a large amount of manpower to produce documents in order to comply with the subpoenas, and this would compromise public safety. Judge Torbitzky told them to assume that the motions would proceed, in order to "get this show on the road"
Around 2:40 pm, the court recessed as both sides discussed and decided which documents or subpoenas to begin with.
Court was in session again shortly after 3:30 pm.
The AG's Office and the Circuit Attorney's Office continue to disagree over the subpoenas that the AG's Office requested.
Both sides went through the list and gathered documents and information about Gardner and her office. Judge Torbitzky listened to both sides' arguments on the subpoenas, and then either dismissed or accepted them.