Missouri Attorney General | KCUR

Missouri Attorney General

Updated at 3:30 p.m. with comments from Attorney General Eric Schmitt

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway released an audit critical of Josh Hawley’s tenure as attorney general, with the Democrat questioning how some of the GOP’s official’s campaign consultants interacted with governmental employees.

The audit, though, states that Galloway’s office “cannot conclude any laws were violated” from the interactions between the consultants and staff — which became a flashpoint near the end of Hawley’s successful 2018 contest against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. And attorneys for Hawley, who has sharply criticized Galloway for how she conducted the audit, took issue with the audit’s conclusions.

Roughly 100 of Missouri’s 7,019 untested rape kits have been sent out of state to a private forensic lab for testing.

The state completed a full inventory of those untested kits last fall. Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office is now moving forward with testing the kits to help prosecute rape cases and provide justice for victims. 

This is part of a $2.8 million grant former Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office received from the federal Bureau of Justice Assistance. Schmitt said there's enough money to test roughly 1,250 of the kits, but more will be sought to clear the entire backlog. 

Eric Schmitt was the first person in his immediate family to go to college — let alone get a law degree. 

So it’s not surprising that Schmitt said he recognizes the civic weight of serving as Missouri’s attorney general.

And roughly a year after Gov. Mike Parson appointed him to that post, the Republican is reflecting on his office’s crime-fighting efforts — and looking to the 2020 legislative session to enact policy initiatives to enhance public safety.

File photo by Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

A 19th century maritime law does not apply to claims arising from a deadly duck boat disaster in Branson, Missouri, a federal judge has ruled.

The decision is in some sense academic, because the operator of the duck boat, Ripley Entertainment, has settled all but one of the 33 claims filed against it. But it means that Ripley won’t be able to limit the damages in the remaining case. It also means that cases against other possible defendants won’t be limited.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

A Kansas City charter school that closed in 2018 still owes millions of dollars to the state – and the Missouri Attorney General’s office has gotten involved.

Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology leaders resisted closure at every turn. They also never distributed any of the computers or education materials to other schools, according to the closure coordinator, and are possibly sitting on millions of dollars owed to the state after selling their building.

The Midwest Innocence Project

After Ricky Kidd spent decades in prison for a 1996 double murder in Kansas City, Missouri, he says he didn't commit, a DeKalb County judge has found Kidd innocent and ordered that he be freed from prison unless prosecutors pursue a new trial within 30 days.

The ruling comes a few months after Kidd was finally granted a hearing for a civil lawsuit against the state, which claimed that Kidd's custody is illegal because his conviction was illegally obtained.

His lawyers told KCUR in May this was Kidd's last chance at freedom.

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The Missouri Attorney General's 2018 report on traffic stops shows black drivers were even more likely to be stopped than white drivers compared to the year prior. Statewide in 2018, blacks were 91% more likely than whites to be stopped by law enforcement. That's based on the driving-age population of both groups in the 2010 census. For 2017, the figure was 85%.

In relation to the entire population of Missouri, blacks were stopped at a rate of 76% in 2018 compared to 72% in 2017.

The Midwest Innocence Project

After decades in prison for a 1996 double murder in Kansas City, Missouri, he says he didn't commit, Ricky Kidd said he has a new hope.

"For the first time in 23 years, I feel like I had my day in court," he told KCUR over the phone from Crossroads Correctional Facility in Cameron, Missouri.

His renewed hope comes after a recent, long-awaited hearing for a civil lawsuit against the state, which claims that Kidd's custody is illegal because his conviction was illegally obtained.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has ended an investigation into whether U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley used the attorney general’s office to boost his Senate bid, concluding there’s not “reasonable trustworthy information that an offense has been committed.”

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Updated at 7:20 p.m. Dec. 10 with a response to the investigation from the Office of the Attorney General.

Updated at 2:10 p.m. Dec. 10 with secretary of state's office requesting the auditor's help in the investigation— Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is under investigation for possibly using "public funds" in his bid for U.S. Senate, the Secretary of State's Office announced Thursday.

As he prepares to change jobs, state Treasurer Eric Schmitt talked to St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies about two of the major influences on his life:

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Gov. Mike Parson appointed state Treasurer Eric Schmitt as Missouri’s next attorney general Tuesday morning, filling the office that will be vacated by Josh Hawley, who was elected to the U.S. Senate last week.

JOSH MILLER/FLICKR

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has filed a lawsuit against the companies that operate tourist duck boats. 

The suit comes after 17 people died when one of the boats sank near Branson on July 19.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Taney County, alleges that Branson Duck Vehicles and Ripley Entertainment had been on notice for decades of ongoing safety hazards that “posed a present and deadly danger to every person who boarded a duck boat.”  It says the companies put their own profit over the safety of the passengers. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte says there may have been a crime committed when two former civilian employees didn’t come to work.

In a story first reported Monday by the Kansas City Star, Forte said he recently discovered that two part-time workers hired by former sheriff Mike Sharp were being paid for little or no work.

A sheriff's office source tells KCUR the pair reported directly to Sharp, so no one knew what they were doing.

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A lawsuit charging Missouri officials have failed to properly oversee the administration of psychotropic medications to children in foster care was certified Thursday as a class action.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 / Senator Claire McCaskill / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: Attorney General Josh Hawley on the resignation of Gov. Greitens and preparing for midterm elections.

As Gov. Eric Greitens gets set to resign this afternoon, Missouri's attorney general maintains he did everything within his jurisdiction to investigate the governor’s alleged indiscretions. In an interview recorded on Thursday, Josh Hawley defended his conduct in the Greitens saga, and explained why he thinks Sen. Claire McCaskill has lost touch with Missouri voters.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

After the resignation of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Tuesday, months of turmoil in Jefferson City might finally be coming to an end. And Republicans such as Attorney General Josh Hawley are eager to shift focus to ousting the state's top Democrat in this year's midterm elections.

On Thursday afternoon, Hawley sat down with KCUR's Up To Date to discuss the historic resignation, his role in prosecuting the governor's alleged misdeeds, and, especially, the record of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

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Missouri has at least 4,889 untested rape kits that have yet to be submitted for DNA testing, according to a state audit. 

In 2017, crime labs around the state tested 869 rape kits, which preserve DNA evidence, the audit said. And the Kansas City Police Department had the longest turnaround among more than 250 law enforcement departments.

File photo by Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

This post was updated at 7:50 p.m. Tuesday to include Greitens' latest statement. 

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Tuesday that his office has evidence that Gov. Eric Greitens may have committed a felony in obtaining and using a donor list from the nonprofit he founded.

By the end of the night, several top Republican state legislators were calling for Greitens to step down, something the governor tweeted that he would not do.

File photo and Office of the Attorney General

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, seen by many as a promising Republican challenger to Sen. Claire McCaskill, found himself in a defensive posture Wednesday after it was reported he drew links between the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s and sex trafficking today. 

Missouri’s attorney general is trying to find out if Google has violated the state’s antitrust and consumer protection laws.

Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Monday that he is issuing a subpoena to the tech giant. Among other things, the Republican official wants to see how the tech giant is gathering personal information from users.  According to a news release, he also wants to know if Google is manipulating its search algorithm to “preference websites owned by Google and to demote websites that compete with Google.” 

Advocate Jamie Manzer, right, shows reporter Mike Tobias a bag of essential items that a nonprofit gives trafficking victims.
David Koehn / NET News

The suburbs and shopping malls don't excite modern urban planners, but they were innovations in their own time. Today, we learn about urban designs that shape our cities. Then: Contrary to popular belief, sex trafficking is not just an urban phenomenon.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley plans to be in court today to support a federal lawsuit that challenges former President Barack Obama’s order to expand the nation’s overtime rules to cover about 4 million more workers.

It’s the second time Hawley has targeted the federal government since he took office Jan. 9 – and in line with his campaign pledge to challenge any federal action that he believes is illegal or against Missouri’s interests.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

With Election Day a week away, we check in with local political reporters for analysis of elections in Kansas and Missouri. Then, political commentator E.J. Dionne discusses the presidential campaign and themes from his book Why the Right Went Wrong. We finish with this week's Statehouse Blend Kansasfeaturing state Rep.

Hawley/Hensley
Courtesy of Hawley campaign; Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Every Missouri attorney general since 1969 has sought higher office at the conclusion of their term, just as gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster is doing this year. Even so, the race to be the next attorney general hasn’t received much attention. Perhaps it should; this year’s two major candidates have completely different ideas about what the job even is.

TPPatriots / YouTube

The primary contest for Missouri Attorney General between Republicans Josh Hawley and Kurt Schafer has already been nasty, but some groups are saying a recent anti-Schaeffer commercial crosses a line.

A coalition of Asian-American groups, including the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis, OCA St. Louis, the Missouri Asian American Bar Association, and the Asian American Bar Association of Kansas City, joined to condemn the ad. 

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is suing shuttered Kansas City charter school Hope Academy to the tune of $3.7 million.

An audit released last month found the school grossly overstated its daily attendance, resulting in millions of dollars in overpayments from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Hope Academy claimed 97 percent attendance. But only about a third of students ever showed up for class.

Judith E. Bell / Flickr-CC

The Kansas City Star has been targeted by a nationwide billing scam, according to Star editors.

The paper has been publishing a warning box in its print edition cautioning readers to disregard any renewal notices asking for money to be sent to Oregon or Nevada.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Operator of former car dealerships in Independence, Blue Springs and Illinois is jailed and charged with what the Missouri Attorney General calls the biggest identity theft case ever taken to court in Missouri.

In the race for Missouri Attorney General, the two front runners, Democratic incumbent Chris Koster and Republican Ed Martin, agree on few issues.