AP is looking for custody of former Missouri Gov. Greitens

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Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to reporters after voting in the Missouri primary election in Innsbrook, Missouri on Aug. 2, 2022 (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The Associated Press has joined The Kansas City Star’s request to obtain a sealed court filing from former Missouri Gov. Eric Greiten’s custody case.

The Star and AP argue that a decision to keep the file closed to the public to protect the former Republican governor’s two young sons goes too far and denies voters vital information about a new candidate for public office.

The AP’s motion was filed Thursday and accepted by the court clerk Tuesday.

Boone County Associate Circuit Judge Leslie Schneider last week privateed her decision in the case to protect the former couple’s sons from public scrutiny, according to a small portion of the decision cited in Texas records.

An attorney for Sheena Greitens confirmed this week that the judge ruled the case should be moved to Texas, where she is a professor of public affairs at the University of Texas. Sheena Greitens, who requested the move, requested that Texas seal the records in the ongoing case. Her attorney did not immediately respond to an AP request for comment on whether she would like the Missouri judge’s decision to remain sealed.

Further information from the judgment was not published.

Kansas City Star’s attorney Bernie Rhodes argued that the judge should redact portions of the verdict that directly relate to the children, but publish the rest.

“This is a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bath water,” Rhodes told The Star. “That’s why if there’s something that’s particularly unique to kids, Adobe PDF has a redaction feature.”

The case drew heightened attention during Eric Greitens’ failed bid earlier this year to be the Republican nominee for retiring US Senator Roy Blunt. Sheena Greitens said in an affidavit that he had been physically abusive, which he staunchly denied.

Rhodes’ motion states that as high-profile Missourians, Eric and Sheena Greitens were treated differently than other Missourians.

“An ordinary man doesn’t get his sentence sealed,” Rhodes said. “If I want to see how property was divided when my neighbor got divorced, I can go to CaseNet or go to the court and find out. Why are these two individuals, who describe themselves as high-profile public figures, entitled to a different standard? That just seems wrong in this country.”

The star motion argues that voters whose decision to vote for Eric Greitens was based in part on the abuse allegations have a right to any information the verdict on the matter might reveal.

Eric Greitens had argued that Sheena Greitens’ claims were part of a political attack staged by those who wanted him to lose his race. Rhodes argues that the records, which The Star is seeking, could shed light on whether Greitens’ legal team was able to substantiate his claim.

“It doesn’t matter that these allegations could be ’embarrassing,'” Rhodes wrote in the filing. “Much of what happens in Missouri courts is the result of embarrassing behavior. What is important is the continued protection of the “overriding public interest in the free flow of information to the public” regarding candidates for public office.”

Greitens resigned as governor four years ago after a sex scandal, two ultimately dropped criminal charges and a legislative investigation that could have led to an impeachment hearing against him. He said those charges were politically motivated.

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