Soros-Backed Prosecutor Fights Attempt to Oust Her From Office
Soros-Backed Prosecutor Fights Attempt to Oust Her From Office

By Janice Hisle

A Missouri prosecutor wants a judge to toss out the state attorney general’s unusual attempt to oust her from her elected position.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, who is accused of office mismanagement and lax law enforcement, on April 11 filed a motion to dismiss Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s petition asking a judge to remove her from office.

Gardner’s motion to dismiss was filed in advance of an April 18 hearing, the first scheduled in the case since Bailey filed it on Feb. 23. The Epoch Times has requested a copy of the filing. The Missouri court’s website contains only descriptions of the documents filed in the case.

The dismissal motion also comes just days after a judge sanctioned Gardner for allegedly withholding evidence in a double-murder case. Last year, the state Supreme Court reprimanded her for similar deficiencies during a 2018 campaign finance case against then-Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican.

Gardner’s battle to keep her job is occurring in the context of a national debate over the alleged “soft-on-crime” policies of some Democrat prosecutors in big cities, particularly those who received backing from funds from billionaire George Soros. According to The Missouri Times, Gardner’s campaign benefited from Soros’s largesse.

Although embattled, Gardner has announced she is seeking re-election in 2024 to the position she has held since 2017.

Outrage Over Teen Double Amputation

Democrat Gardner has publicly accused Bailey, a Republican, of a politically motivated attack against her. But Bailey denies that. He cites his legal obligation to hold Gardner responsible for performing mandated duties.

In his “writ of quo warranto” petition seeking Gardner’s removal, Bailey alleges that Gardner allowed cases to languish and let alleged repeat offenders off easy. He also says Gardner’s alleged inaction in one criminal case culminated in horrific injuries to a visiting teen athlete, which sparked a public outcry.

On Feb. 18, Janae Edmondson of Smyrna, Tenn., was visiting St. Louis to participate in a volleyball tournament. She was walking along a downtown sidewalk with her parents when a speeding vehicle caused a crash, pinning her legs. She is now a double amputee. Police say Janae’s father helped save her life by using waist belts as tourniquets to stop the bleeding from her mangled legs.

Daniel Riley, 21, the driver accused of causing the crash that hurt Janae, is an armed robbery suspect who remained free despite violating his house arrest order dozens of times, Bailey said. Bailey argues that Riley would have been locked up if Gardner had done her duty to enforce laws.

Janae was released from a Missouri hospital at the end of March; recently, she was able to attend school for a couple hours, the first time since the crash, according to a GoFundMe page set up for her. Nearly $806,000 of a $900,000 goal had been raised on her behalf as of April 12.

Janae Edmondson, a Tennessee teen athlete, lost both of her legs after a speeding vehicle caused a crash as she walked with her parents in St. Louis, Mo., on Feb. 18, 2023. (Rhonda Ross/GoFundMe)

Gardner Denies Fault

Gardner, in a news conference after Bailey announced his attempt to oust her, denied fault in the circumstances that led to Janae’s injuries.

She asserts that judges either ignored or refused her staff’s requests to take action against Riley. Gardner also contested that allegation in a March 14 court filing, in which she denied all of the claims Bailey made in his petition.

Further, Gardner’s lawyers wrote, “Ms. Gardner was not the attorney assigned to any of the specific cases referenced in the Petition. She did not make any of the decisions complained of in the Petition. Ms. Gardner does not have personal knowledge of all circumstances and reasons for each of the decisions complained of in the Petition.”

Gardner, a former member of the Missouri House of Representatives, has been hailed for her attempts to reform police despite being in politically hostile territory in Republican-dominant Missouri.

Soros, in a July 2022 Wall Street Journal column posted to his website, explained his rationale for supporting prosecutors who champion criminal-justice reform.

“The goal is not defunding the police but restoring trust between the police and the policed, a partnership that fosters the solving of crimes,” Soros wrote at the time. He asserted that data showed “no connection between the election of reform-minded prosecutors and local crime rates.”

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