Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cruising the Web

Rich Lowry nails it when he refers to the constant apologies and fake self-flagellations as "insufferable tripe." Zuckerberg tries to have it both ways by pretending his business is all about connecting people as if he's not making money off of selling data.
Facebook can’t bear to admit that it has garnered the largest collection of data known to man to sell ads against and line the pockets of its founder and investors.

The problem isn’t that Mark Zuckerberg is a businessman, and an exceptionally gifted one, but that he pretends to have stumbled out of the lyrics of John Lennon’s song “Imagine.” To listen to him, Facebook is all about connectivity and openness — he just happens to have made roughly $63 billion as the T-shirt-wearing champion of “the global community,” whatever that means.

It’s this pose that makes him and other Facebook officials sound so shifty. In a rocky interview with Savannah Guthrie of the Today show last week, Sheryl Sandberg was asked what product Facebook sells. “We’re selling the opportunity to connect with people,” she said, before catching herself, “but it’s not for sale.”

Something or other must be for sale, or Facebook is the first company to rocket to the top ranks of corporate America based on having no product or profit motive. Guthrie, persisting, stated that Facebook sweeps up data for the use of advertisers. Sandberg objected: “We are not sweeping data. People are inputting data.”

Uh, yeah. That’s the genius of it. In a reported exchange with a friend while he was a student at Harvard, Zuckerberg boasted of having data on thousands of students because “people just submitted it.”

Zuckerberg has now managed the same trick on a global scale. On the one hand, Facebook has indeed made efforts to protect the data of its users, knowing that it can’t risk a fundamental breach of trust. On the other, Zuckerberg has repeatedly said he’s sorry for offenses against his users’ privacy because his business model contradicts his self-righteous public posture.

The company is deeply committed to that posture. In the Today interview, Sandberg made a confession as humble brag: “We were very idealistic and not rigorous enough.” In his prepared testimony before a House committee, Zuckerberg declared: “Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company. For most of our existence, we focused on all the good that connecting people can bring.”

It’s possible to imagine something like Facebook run as a nonprofit service for the global commons. That’s not what Zuckerberg chose to do to. To his credit, he created a compelling — nay, for some people, addicting — product and made a killing for the ages.
I'm not sure why people are shocked that information that they willingly posted online is now being used to target them by advertisers or politicians. Did they think that it was a coincidence that ads related to what they had posted would show up? But it's so irritating to have Facebook officials continue to pretend that they're just about helping people connect and to ignore that they're a profit-making business and they make their money selling the data that their users provide.


If Facebook really were as neutral as Zuckerberg would like to convince people, we wouldn't get these sorts of stories.
Aric Nesbitt, a former member of the Michigan House of Representatives and state lottery commissioner, wanted to amplify his announcement for State Senate on Facebook, so he submitted it the way any candidate or company would. But the ad was quickly rejected “because it doesn’t follow our Advertising Policies. We don’t allow ads that contain shocking, disrespectful or sensational content, including ads that depict violence or threats of violence,” according to a message from the company.

What was the message? It read, in its entirety, “I’m proud to announce my candidacy for State Senate. Lansing needs conservative, West Michigan values, and as our next State Senator, I will work to strengthen our economy, limit government, lower our auto insurance rates, balance the budget, stop sanctuary cities, pay down government debt and be a Pro-Life, Pro-Second Amendment leader for the people. Find out more at www.VoteNesbitt.com.”

The post was immediately met with a rejection message.
I presume that it was the "Pro-Second Amendment" description that got his ad rejected. That's pretty weak and demonstrates the problems with whatever algorithms that Facebooking is using to screen content. And now he wants to use artificial intelligence to monitor and ban 'hate speech" on Facebook. Yeah, no conservative would have confidence in the company's ability to do that given all the stories that we hear about FB shutting down conservative content, but not anything comparable on the left. Ted Cruz had a particularly effective exchange with Zuckerberg during his questioning. It would be much better if Facebook and Twitter and the rest of these social media platforms just admitted that they're a liberal organization and let users decide if they want to use it. But they try to pretend that they're totally unbiased when they so clearly do discriminate against conservatives.


RealClearInvestigations notes
this irony in the Senate hearing of Mark Zuckerberg.
As a contrite Mark Zuckerberg is grilled on Capitol Hill this week over the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, he can be forgiven for hoping some cool Facebook lobbying cash will help reduce the heat from his inquisitors.

According to OpenSecrets.org, a site that tracks political contributions, Facebook-affiliated donors have given liberally to candidates at the federal level – liberally indeed: Since the 2006 election cycle, they have given roughly twice as much to Democrats ($4.6 million) as Republicans ($2.3 million).

In the 2012 presidential cycle, they gave nearly five times more to Barack Obama ($95,107) than to Mitt Romney ($20,100) - as Facebook was also evidently assisting Obama's online efforts. For 2016 they bestowed about 100 times more money on Hillary Clinton ($478,466) than on Donald Trump ($4,815), notwithstanding any help the latter got from Cambridge Analytica's mining of Facebook data.

As individual donors, Zuckerberg and his Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg leaned in to elections in recent years with thousands in donations primarily to Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senators Michael Bennet, Claire McCaskill, Mark Warner, Ron Wyden and Cory Booker, among others.

Zuckerberg’s most immediate concern is his interrogators this week – Democrats and Republicans alike who have benefitted from his company's cash.

USA Today reported last week that the congressional panel that got the most Facebook contributions is the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is due to question Zuckerberg on Wednesday.

Members of the panel, which has regulatory power over Internet companies, received nearly $381,000 in contributions tied to Facebook since 2007, USA Today reported, citing Open Secrets.

The second-highest total, $369,000, went to members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which jointly questioned Zuckerberg with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

The paper said Judiciary Committee members have received $235,000 in Facebook contributions. Democrats Kamala Harris, Patrick Leahy, and Amy Klobuchar as well as Republican Mike Lee stand out as recent recipients.
It's all very intimate, isn't it? How many of those questioning Zuckerberg will make the sort of full disclosure statement that journalists are supposed to make if they have some prior connection to the subject of their story?


Ben Shapiro points out a pitfall that Zuckerberg fell into during his testimony yesterday. He answered a question from Senator John Cornyn about whether or not Facebook is a neutral platform bears some responsibility for the content by saying, “I agree that we’re responsible for the content.” As Shapiro points out, that opens Facebook up to legal liability for the content published on their site.
Zuckerberg may have just opened himself up to a world of legal hurt. Platforms are generally not held legally responsible for the content posted on those platforms — so liability issues ranging from copyright violation to slander aren’t serious concerns for platforms. You can’t sue AT&T if somebody slanders you on a telephone call carried by their satellites. But that’s not the case with publishers. Publishers are responsible for the content that is added to their platforms. The Daily Wire bears legal liability for the content that goes up at The Daily Wire.

If the same were held to be true for Facebook, the company would immediately become subject to hundreds of millions of dollars in legal liability. For example, copyright violation bears a statutory penalty of between $750 and $30,000 per violation. How many unlicensed photos are posted on Facebook daily? On a minute-by-minute basis? Now, instead of a photo journalist suing the person who posted the photo, the photo journalist could sue Facebook itself. And Facebook’s pockets are a lot deeper.

This is the problem with determining that you are going to treat your platform as a political outlet. Zuckerberg made that decision months ago in response to the 2016 election, as Wired detailed. Now his company could pay the price.
Oh, this could become quite interesting. And when FB starts taking down certain people's pages because of the problematic content the company determines they pose and don't take down other sites with equally or even more problematic content, they've stepped into the realm of curating content instead of just being the publisher.


I always gain something from reading Andrew McCarthy's take on legal events since he brings to the table his expertise as a former federal prosecutor. In writing about the search of the offices of Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, McCarthy notes the internal contradictions in Trump's and Cohen's story about the payment made to Stormy Daniels.
If a client’s communications with a lawyer are for the purpose of carrying out a fraudulent scheme, they lose any claim to confidentiality. Theoretically, then, Trump and Cohen have a legal as well as a factual problem. Legally, if they conspired to execute a payment in violation of campaign laws in order to silence Clifford, their communications in this regard would not be privileged. Factually (if implausibly), both Cohen and Trump claim that the former did not tell the latter about the payment to Clifford; and that Cohen made the payment in his personal capacity, not as Trump’s lawyer. How, then, can they now claim attorney–client privilege in connection with the transaction?
Good point there.

McCarthy also points out that, if the evidence that Mueller turned over to the DOJ was about the campaign finance violations in the payment to Stormy Daniels, that is really small tea. And Trump could have settled it all by admitting it and paying some sort of fine.
Compared with other possible campaign-finance infractions that have been settled without criminal charges, this one — if it is one — is a trifle. And while the underlying behavior is debauched, it happened a decade before Trump was elected. While extramarital, the tryst was consensual by Clifford’s account. (The White House half-heartedly denies it happened.) As for Trump’s fitness for the presidency, the scandal tells us exactly nothing that we didn’t already know about the flawed man that Americans chose to elect.

There’s one problem with a mitigation strategy, though. To carry it off requires a measure of genuine contrition — being sorry for what happened and for any technical violation of law that may have resulted. That would start with some self-awareness. This particular scandal was not caused by the Russia investigation, much as Trump seems determined to conflate the two. It is not the work of Bob Mueller, Jeff Sessions, or Rod Rosenstein. None of them had anything to do with the porn star going public. It was Trump’s conduct that caused this mess; it was the hare-brained scheme to cover up the mess that brings us to this pass.

Trump doesn’t do contrition. That approach has taken him a long way, but I don’t think it will serve him well on this one.
Yeah, I can't imagine Trump apologizing for anything. But if you're shocked, shocked at the idea of Trump's sleazy lawyer making an illegal campaign donation by paying off Trump's porn star hook-up, candidates end up admitting to campaign finance violations all the time after elections. The FEC might investigate and the campaign pays a fine and it's all over. For example, McCarthy reminds us of the Obama campaign.
Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was caught hiding the sources of 1,300 large campaign donations, aggregating to nearly $2 million. The campaign also accepted more than $1.3 million in unlawful donations from contributors who had already given the legal maximum.

Under federal law, such campaign-finance violations, if they aggregate to just $25,000 in a calendar year, may be treated as felonies punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment — with offenses involving smaller dollar amounts punishable by incarceration for a year or more. (See Section 30109(d) of Title 52, U.S. Code, pp. 51–52 of the Federal Election Commission’s compilation of campaign laws.)

The Obama campaign did not have a defense; it argued in mitigation that the unlawful donations constituted a negligible fraction of the monumental amount it had raised from millions of “grass-roots” donors. Compelling? Maybe not, but enough to convince the Obama Justice Department not to prosecute the Obama campaign — shocking, I know. During the Christmas holiday season right after the 2012 campaign, with Obama safely reelected and nobody paying much attention, the matter was quietly settled with the payment of a $375,000 fine.

Now, it probably is true that there is more to the search of Cohen's offices than campaign finance violation. I would like to think that they wouldn't have taken this serious step if that is all they were concerned with. I wouldn't be surprised at anything that Cohen might have been involved in.

Reportedly, Mueller is investigating a 2015 donation of $150,000 that a Ukrainian businessman made to Trump's foundation in 2015. The Daily Caller reminds us of that businessman's previous appearance making suspicious donations.
The donation, from steel magnate Victor Pinchuk, pales in comparison to contributions he gave to the charity Bill and Hillary Clinton set up. The billionaire has contributed $13 million to the Clinton Foundation since 2006 and had access to Hillary Clinton while she served as secretary of state....

In September 2015, Trump appeared via video link at a conference Pinchuk hosted in Kiev. Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, negotiated details of the event with Douglas Schoen, a former consultant for Bill Clinton, according to The New York Times. Trump did not initially request payment for the appearance, but Cohen contacted Schoen at one point to request a $150,000 honorarium, The Times reported....

The Victor Pinchuk Foundation issued a statement to The Times, downplaying the donation to Trump. The charity reached out to Trump and other world leaders in order to “promote strengthened and enduring ties between Ukraine and the West,” it said.

Contact to Trump was made at a time when “it was by no means assured that Mr. Trump would be the Republican nominee in 2016,” the foundation pointed out.

Pinchuk appears to have had a much closer relationship to the Clintons.

In June 2012, the billionaire attended a dinner at the Clintons’ residence. And through Schoen, Pinchuk lobbied the State Department in 2011 and 2013. Documents filed with the Justice Department show Schoen and Pinchuk met on several occasions in 2012 with Melanne Verveer, a close Clinton associate who then served as an ambassador at large for global women’s issues.

Bill Clinton attended Pinchuk’s annual Yalta conference, The New York Times reported on Feb. 13, 2014. Pinchuk also attended the former president’s 65th birthday party in Los Angeles.

The FBI reportedly investigated the Clinton Foundation over its foreign donations. The status of that investigation is unclear.
Yeah, I bet we can all predict what will come of that investigation.


As long as we're reminiscing about ways that the Obama Justice Department treated Democrats differently than how Trump is being treated in the Mueller investigation, we can revisit a column that McCarthy wrote back in 2016 about the interview that the FBI did of Hillary Clinton and the fact that Cheryl Mills, Hillary's lawyer and aide, was allowed to sit in on the interview even though Mills was also a witness in the investigation.
When she worked for Clinton at State, Mills was not acting in the capacity of a lawyer – not for then-Secretary Clinton and not for the State Department. Moreover, as Clinton’s chief-of-staff, Mills was intimately involved in issues related to Clinton’s private email set up, the discussions about getting her a secure BlackBerry similar to President Obama’s, and questions that were raised (including in FOIA requests) about Clinton’s communications.

That is to say, Mills was an actor in the facts that were under criminal investigation by the FBI. Put aside that she was not Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer while working for the State Department; as I explained in the May column, Mills, after leaving the State Department, was barred by ethical rules from acting as Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer “in connection with a matter in which the lawyer participated personally and substantially as a public officer or employee.”

There is no way Mills should have been permitted to participate as a lawyer in the process of producing Clinton’s emails to the State Department nearly two years after they’d both left. I thought it was astonishing that the Justice Department indulged her attorney-client privilege claim, which frustrated the FBI’s ability to question her on a key aspect of the investigation. But it is simply unbelievable to find her turning up at Mrs. Clinton’s interview – participating in the capacity of a lawyer under circumstances where Clinton was being investigated over matters in which Mills participated as a non-lawyer government official.

According to the FBI’s report, Mrs. Clinton had four other attorneys (one whose name is deleted from the report for some reason) representing her at the interview. She clearly did not need another lawyer. And it is Criminal Investigations 101 that law enforcement never interviews witnesses together – the point is to learn the truth, not provide witnesses/suspects with an opportunity to keep their story straight, which undermines the search for truth.

Why on earth was Cheryl Mills permitted to sit in on Hillary Clinton’s FBI interview?
All very cozy, wasn't it? That's how James Comey conducted his investigation of Hillary Clinton.


The affair with Story Daniels was tawdry and confirms what everyone knew about Trump's character when it comes to women. The only reason it has become a legal story is because of the implications for violating campaign finance laws. However Bradley Smith, a former chairman of the FEC, explains in the WSJ that, for Trump with his history with such sex partners, paying off a former sex partner to keep silent is probably not a campaign expense.
Campaign-finance law aims to prevent corruption. For this reason, the FEC has a longstanding ban on “personal use” of campaign funds. Such use would give campaign contributions a material value beyond helping to elect the candidate—the essence of a bribe.

FEC regulations explain that the campaign cannot pay expenses that would exist “irrespective” of the campaign, even if it might help win election. At the same time, obligations that would not exist “but for” the campaign must be paid from campaign funds.

If paying hush money is a campaign expense, a candidate would be required to make that payment with campaign funds. How ironic, given that using campaign funds as hush money was one of the articles of impeachment in the Watergate scandal, which gave rise to modern campaign-finance law.

When the FEC adopted these regulations, it specifically rejected a rule under which campaign contributions could fund an expenditure “related to” a candidacy. The FEC was concerned that would make it too easy for candidates to use campaign funds for personal benefit. Personal debts, for example, are “related to” the campaign—if unpaid, the candidate’s reputation might suffer. A Rolex watch, a new suit, or a haircut might help a candidate look good on the trail.
So what does that mean in this instance?
And how about Stormy? There are many reasons, including personal and commercial ones, why Mr. Trump might want to keep allegations of extramarital affairs out of the press. Ms. Daniels claims that when she first tried to sell her story in 2011, she was threatened by a man in a Las Vegas parking lot: “Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.” If true, it shows that her silence was desired long before Mr. Trump ran. The New Yorker published a story claiming to provide “a detailed look at how Trump and his allies used clandestine hotel-room meetings, payoffs, and complex legal agreements to keep affairs . . . out of the press.” If true, this also suggests a pattern outside the campaign.

Campaign contributions should not become politicians’ personal slush funds. Many ardent anti-Trumpers sincerely believe that the president is a threat to the rule of law. The real threat to the rule of law, however, comes from abusing laws to “get” a political opponent. Some matters are for voters to decide.
How ironic that, the legal basis for going into all of this, might not exist at all.


In another editorial,
the WSJ tries to explain to Trump why it would be so foolhardy to fire Mueller.
In his Monday rage at the raid, Mr. Trump again raised the prospect of firing Mr. Mueller or other Justice officials. Never underestimate the President’s capacity to hurt himself. But firing Mr. Mueller wouldn't stop the investigation, though it would cost him Republican support and probably guarantee his impeachment if Democrats take the House in November.

The smart advice—which he won’t take—is to keep quiet about Mr. Mueller and build political capital by trying to succeed as President. Get a stronger legal team, on criminal and constitutional law for the fight ahead, and let faster economic growth improve the public mood. That saved Bill Clinton.

Even as Mr. Mueller expands his probe, the Justice Department Inspector General will soon report on how the FBI and Justice handled the investigation into Mrs. Clinton. If there is no more evidence than is now public about collusion with Russia, many voters will conclude the exercise was mainly partisan. Ditto if prosecutor John Huber finds evidence that Obama officials were colluding with some in the FBI to defeat Mr. Trump. Most Americans will judge the President based on the overall evidence.

Mr. Trump can’t control Mr. Mueller, but he can control himself. That may be the only way he can save his Presidency.
Unfortunately for his presidency, Donald Trump has never demonstrated that self-control is one of his personal strengths. Witness the original firing of James Comey, which he had a perfect right to do, but should have done when he came into office. And once done, with the figleaf of doing it on the recommendation of Rod Rosenstein, Trump then had to blab about his own personal reasons for the firing. He just didn't have the self-control to stick to the original reason put out there. And now he's thinking of firing Rosenstein. As if that would make any difference to the Mueller investigation. But he's angry and, apparently, wants a scalp.


You know that story about the Governor of Missouri, Eric Greitens, taking a picture of the woman he was having an affair with and then used to blackmail her into silence? The story has ruined his reputation and he's now been indicted by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. Now we're learning that the prosecution kept secret some exculpatory information.
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One of the most contentious issues in the State of Missouri’s case against Gov. Eric Greitens has been the whereabouts of an incriminating photo that he is alleged to have taken and disseminated.

A deposition of the woman (K.S.) in question, the woman who accused Greitens of taking a nude photo of her, reveals one new shocking bit of evidence. The woman may have dreamed up the incident at the heart of the criminal case.

The defense team’s April 8 motion to compel immediate production of all exculpatory evidence reports the following exchange.

When the defense counsel asked K.S., “Did you ever see [Greitens] in possession of a camera or phone?” she answered: “Not to my knowledge. I didn’t see him with it.”

The question was then asked, “And as you sit here now, you cannot state under oath that you ever saw him in possession of a camera – with a camera or a phone?”

K.S. replied, “Correct.”

The counsel then asked, “And you can’t say you saw it on his person, you can’t say you saw him put it down in the kitchen, take it from the kitchen, or put it down anywhere in the basement. Those are all correct statements, are they not?”

K.S. answered, “Yes. I cannot say.”

Trying to salvage the state’s case, the Assistant Circuit Attorney later asked K.S., “Did you see what you believed to be a phone?”

Here comes the shocker. K.S. answered, “… I haven’t talked about it because I don’t know if it’s because I’m remembering it through a dream or I – I’m not sure, but yes, I feel like I saw it after that happened, but I haven’t spoken about it because of that.”

K.S. remembered the photo incident “through a dream”? Memories recovered through dreams have led to some of the great injustices in recent jurisprudence. To her credit, K.S. struggled to give honest answers to the questions she was asked, but her honesty has undone the remaining threads of a quickly unraveling case.

As the defense counsel observed in the motion, the state was aware that recovered memories may have accounted for K.S.’s recollection, but state prosecutors failed to turn that obviously exculpatory evidence over to the defense. K.S. also failed to so share this revelation with the House committee investigating Greitens.
The whole basis of the case against Greitens is that photo and K.S.'s testimony. It's amazing that the prosecution knew that the supposed victim in this story can't really remember the incident and never saw the phone so she didn't know if he had really taken a picture of her. Her words that "she remembered it through a dream" would lead any jury to refuse to convict him. No prosecutor should bring a case based on such unsure memories of the victim. I had earlier read a couple of columns by Dave Grossman outlining all the problems with the case brought against Greitens, and was struck with his arguments. He admits that he is a friend of Greitens and admires him so you can decide how much you put in his arguments against the prosecutor. He is someone who trains federal law officials so he knows about legal procedures. He pointed out that the woman didn't file a complaint - the whole story came about because her ex-husband recorded her without her consent or knowledge. The prosecution admits that they don't have the photo on which the case is based.
So what other evidence do they have? None. Yes, you read that correctly: There is no other evidence in their possession. The prosecution admitted as much in testimony before the judge this past week. They pleaded with the judge to allow their office to let them have the summer to “gather the evidence.”

Sorry, but Gardner has it backwards. Evidence is supposed to lead to an indictment, not the other way around.
Other law enforcement organizations looked at the story and declined to bring charges. That includes the FBI, the U.S. Attorney, and the police. And then there is this fact.
For reasons unknown, Gardner’s office did not use police detectives or even its own office investigators to look into the Governor’s actions. That’s highly unusual. Standard operating procedure for a public prosecutor is to use public resources to conduct an investigation. What Gardner did instead was pay a Michigan-based firm $10,000 to come to Missouri and look into the matter.

There are a few troubling elements to this. First, why an out-of-state firm? Surely there are Missouri-based private investigators who could have been contracted to do this work just as well. Second, were these individuals sworn in? That’s done when using private investigators in this sort of action; it ensures that the people doing the question-asking bear a responsibility to the court and to the law. Third, who was paying them? If taxpayer dollars were paid to these individuals, the public has a right to know. And if they were paid for with private funds, that’s an even bigger red flag.

Finally, why did those investigators travel to Jefferson City, the state Capitol, to talk to politicians? The investigators were first introduced to the public because politicians in the state’s Capitol admitted that they had spoken to them. That begs, even screams, the question: What would politicians in Jefferson City have to say about the facts of a felony indictment about an incident that took place three years ago in St. Louis, before the governor was even in office? These politicians had nothing to do with this case, and what’s worse, many of them have already revealed their biases against Greitens.
The prosecution should have investigatory forces under her control. It is indeed curious that she is using these private investigators. It's also suspicious that she tried to get the judge to postpone the trial to the Fall so that it would happen before the election. Fortunately, the judge didn't grant her request.

A few weeks ago Grossman wrote about the possible liabilities that Gardner herself is facing.
It’s been my experience, after decades in law enforcement, that prosecutors tend to know the difference between what is and is not a crime. Most of the time, that is. In the case of Kim Gardner, I’ll admit: I’m not sure she does. Because in her action against Greitens, she appears to have missed the boat on what a crime is. In this case, she has no victim, very little evidence, no legal standing — and given all that, almost no hope of conviction. The slipshod work by the prosecution led one high-level member of law enforcement in the state of Missouri to call this “a clown show prosecution,” and that opinion is widely shared in legal and law enforcement circles in Missouri.

Obviously, Gardner probably didn’t think it would go this way. She was probably thinking this case against a high-profile, popular, sitting Republican Governor would make her name. Now it might ruin her career. Here’s why: It’s almost certain, at this point, that the case will either be thrown out by the judge or that the governor will be found innocent. But there might be more fallout to come — for Gardner, that is. What if the Greitens team files a civil suit against Gardner, one that could cost her millions in damages? What if citizens in the city of St. Louis file complaints with the police or Missouri’s attorney general about Gardner’s conduct, leading to a criminal investigation? Ironically, a case that began on illegitimate grounds could end with the quite-legitimate investigation of the prosecutor who started it.
This assertion was based on information that had come to light even before the shocking revelation about the victim not being sure she really remembered the whole episode. Grossman found that the indictment was prepared on December 22 last year, but she admits that she didn't launch her investigation of Greitens until January 11, 2018.
That means the indictment paperwork was apparently begun by the circuit attorney’s office a full 20 days before that office publicly became involved in this case. In other words, Gardner (or someone on her team) began writing out an indictment document before evidence of a crime was ever brought forward, before her office conducted any kind of inquiry, and before a grand jury ever sat. You don’t need a law degree to be bothered by this: Why would you prepare an indictment about a crime weeks before investigating that crime?

Answer: You wouldn’t. Unless of course the evidence didn’t matter to you, because you were just looking for any crime that fit and any jury that would indict.
Remember, she is charging the governor with a felony. But she didn't get her paperwork in line. And remember those private investigators she hired? Well, it turns out that this is even more suspect than originally thought.
The out-of-state private investigators Gardner hired were led by a man who was once under FBI investigation himself. You couldn’t make this up if you tried: The private investigator, William Don Tisaby, worked for the FBI when he was accused of bigamy, and what’s worse, he allegedly lied to the FBI about it.

It was already odd to have a private investigative firm looking into a governor. Their work, as has been reported, was sloppy and irregular for a case like this. They weren’t allowed to write down any of the facts they found, and they were paid sums of money well above-and-beyond what a police officer would make for the same work. Now you add to that the fact that the investigators were being investigated, and you have another supporting fact for the countersuit that could await Gardner at the conclusion of this case.
Greitens might still be guilty of having an extra-marital affair. He may have treated the woman despicably. But that is not a crime. And prosecutors shouldn't bring criminal charges simply because they want to embarrass a rising politician of the opposite party.

We'll see what the Missouri legislature comes up with when they release their report.