"Rumors of resignation?" Latest in Gardner case

AG Bailey ups the heat on Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.
Attorney General tells of "rumors of resignation" surrounding Gardner. Photo credit UPI St. Louis photo

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KMOX) - "There are rumors circulating around Jefferson City and St. Louis about potential resignations." That's what Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said to a reporters question Wednesday evening when asked if he heard St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner was about to step down. He did not directly answer the question.

Instead, Bailey outlined allegations that Gardner had been attending nursing classes at Saint Louis University. In a situation reminiscent of efforts to remove St. Louis County Executive Sam Page from office, Bailey said that is in violation of state statute. "Section 56.445 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri require that the Circuit Attorney devote her full time and energy to the discharge of her official duties." He added, "Obtaining a nursing degree is not one of her official duties. Prosecuting criminals is." Bailey said, if Gardner wants to be a nurse she should "Cease pretending to be a prosecuting attorney." Gardner is a registered nurse.

The Attorney General says his office has subpoenaed Saint Louis University, demanding documents - and even surveillance video - of Gardner attending classes. While the notion of removing someone from office for working in the medical profession did not work with Dr. Page, who later agreed to cease paid work as an anesthesiologist, Bailey's pursuit of the nursing angle could be viewed as an attempt to increase the pressure for Gardner to resign.

Meanwhile, the Quo Warranto case against her advances. The Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court appointed a new judge in the case around the same time Bailey was having his press conference. Judge Thomas Chapman of the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals will replace Appeals Judge John Torbitzky in hearing the case. Circuit Attorney Gardner requested a change of judge, as is her right, but not before Torbitzky agreed to make a ruling on her motion to dismiss the case. He refused on the main points, agreeing only on minor ones. Judge Chapman is to report to St. Louis to hear the case.

As for rumors to resign, nothing specific has come to light as of this writing, either in Jefferson City or in St. Louis. The Circuit Attorney's Office responded, "I don't have any information" on that.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: UPI St. Louis photo