In this 2020 photo, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner (middle) is flanked by other Black female prosecutors including, (L-R) Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County, Mass.; Aramis Ayala, Orlando, Fla.; Stephanie Morales, Portsmouth, Va.; Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore, Md.; Diana Becton, Contra Costa County, Calif. and Aisha Braveboy, Prince George’s County, Md. Photo: J.A. Salaam

ST. LOUIS—St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner recently appeared before a disciplinary panel at an ethics committee hearing. The hearing was to determine if she violated her oath as an attorney which could possibly see her lose her law license. The hearing stemmed from a case involving former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.

In an agreement reached between Atty. Gardner and Chief Disciplinary Counsel Alan Pratzel revealed at the April 11 hearing in St. Louis County, Atty. Gardner admitted to “unintentionally failing to produce documents to a judge for review and failing to correct misstatements from her contracted investigator.”

It was alleged Atty. Gardner’s office purposely withheld evidence from Mr. Greitens’ defense team from an interview it conducted with the then-governor’s alleged mistress. There were five pages of notes that were not given as evidence during a 2018 invasion of privacy case against Mr. Greitens. Atty. Gardner investigated and pursued prosecution of the former governor, but her office later dropped the charges and he subsequently resigned from office.

Supporters of Atty. Gardner argue the Greiten case was just one of many efforts to discredit her and possibly get her removed from office.


At the hearing, Atty. Gardner accepted responsibility for her mistake. Observers believe she will more than likely be reprimanded but not be disbarred.

Kim Gardner’s attorney, Michael Downey, explained during a press conference after the hearing, “A legal reprimand is a formal order from the (state) Supreme Court … she received the lowest form of discipline a Missouri attorney could receive,” he said.

“There is a monetary penalty that accompanies any formal discipline case … which could be $750 and not beyond that. And Ms. Gardner will be able to practice with no interruption at all,” explained Atty. Downey.

The agreement is approximately 800 pages and will be reviewed by the three-member panel and must also be signed off on by the Missouri Supreme Court for acceptance. “The evidence does not support a conclusion that these documents were deliberately withheld from production,” the agreement states in part. Also, there was no finding that Atty. Gardner or her office had “an improper motive or strategy regarding the production of materials in the Greitens case,” it states.

No formal action was taken by the panel on April 11 on the proposed agreement and it will make a recommendation within 30 days to the Missouri Supreme Court, which will have the final say on whether Atty. Gardner committed professional misconduct.

This is the latest hurdle that Atty. Gardner has faced since coming into office.

In 2016, Atty. Gardner made history when she became the first Black person in the City of St. Louis to be the circuit attorney. Now, in her second term the outspoken attorney is still fighting to maintain her position. She’s received numerous death threats, faced racial discrimination and public ridicule for her stance on prison reform and her unwillingness to prosecute criminals without seeking better alternatives rather than prison.

Atty. Gardner has taken a proactive approach to change policies and help end mass incarceration as well as changing the unjust bail and bond practices in the city.

Approximately two dozen supporters attended the hour-long hearing to stand with her.

“This sister has been fighting against the powers that be since she’s been in office. And to see people out here at the county court is what they need to see. That shows she’s not alone,” said community activist and educator Johnson “Baba J” Lancaster.

The panel will have a recommendation in about 30 days. (Charles A.W. Muhammad and Final Call staff contributed to this report.)