Kim Gardner, the embattled Democrat attorney in St. Louis, blasted Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey's push to remove her from office, and in a raucous press conference called Bailey's effort a 'political stunt' that is 'nothing more than voter suppression.'
Hours earlier, Bailey moved to push Gardner out of her job for negligence that allowed a repeat offender with multiple bond violations to seriously injure a teenager, Janae Edmondson, in a car crash. Edmondson's legs had to be amputated as a result.
Gardner lashed out at Bailey and indicated she would fight the move, and accused Bailey of having political motives.
'The attorney general, as others, use this unfortunate incident and tragic happening to this young lady as a political stunt of an unelected individual,' she said. 'This is nothing more than voter suppression, which we've seen on a national level as well as in the state of Missouri.'
Gardner admitted they 'could have done more' in this case, but defended herself and her office. 'While it is true my office could have done more, to say we did nothing is not only disingenuous, but is willfully ignorant of the reality of our court system,' she said.
'While I understand that politics will always play a role, my office will return to focusing on the important work that the people of the city of St. Louis elected me (to do),' she added.
Gardner also indicated race is somehow playing a role in controversy.
'We're going to fight very hard for justice in spite of the vitriol, the hate, the racist attacks, the known manipulation of the court procedures to make sure our office fails,' she said.
Hours earlier, after giving Gardner an ultimatum to resign or be removed, Bailey filed a petition of quo warranto, which is the legal mechanism under state statute that allows the AG to remove a prosecutor who neglects his or her duties. Bailey will have to show a judge that Gardner neglected her duties and needs to be removed.
Bailey took that action after 21-year-old Daniel Riley, who repeatedly violated his bond conditions on earlier charges, crashed and left Edmondson, a teenage volleyball player, with major injuries that required both her legs be amputated. Gardner's office is the one that should be monitoring compliance with bond conditions and revoking them when those terms are violated.
In her press conference, Gardner claimed that she asked the courts to revoke Riley's bond 'on three separate occasions, as recently as last month.' A reporter challenged that claim, saying that no court records of such a request exists.
Gardner responded that the request was made 'orally. 'We have what's called oral motions to evoke bond. Those can be made orally or written and in this jurisdiction, they are made orally and that is normal practice and that was done in this case on numerous occasions,' she said.