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St. Louis Circuit Attorney defends hiring of multiple outside legal firms during perjury investigation

The city's chief law enforcement officer was in the hot seat Wednesday after being forced to testify under subpoena in a private citizen's lawsuit.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner on Wednesday defended her hiring of several outside law firms during a special prosecutor's grand jury investigation.

Gardner is currently being sued by Charles Lane of St. Louis. The retired cop and taxpayer believes Gardner's contracts with those firms are not valid and could be in violation of the Missouri Constitution.

The purpose of Wednesday's hearing before St. Louis Circuit Judge Joan Moriarity was to hear arguments for and against the preliminary injunction Lane is seeking, which would prevent the city from paying on the contracts.

A decision has not yet been rendered by the court.

On the witness stand, Gardner revealed she hired the firms, in part, because she believed she and her entire office were targets of the grand jury.

Gardner is not currently facing any criminal charges.

However, before it disbanded earlier this month, the grand jury did indict Gardner's former investigator, William Don Tisaby, 66, on seven felony charges, including perjury and evidence tampering.

The indictment also levied several allegations of wrongdoing against Gardner, including her failing to correct Tisaby's misstatements and report concerns of perjury to police.

Financial records obtained by 5 On Your Side from the city reveal taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $240,000 in Gardner's legal bills.

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According to a spokeswoman for Gardner's office, taxpayers might also have to pay for Tisaby's legal defense, per his contract with the office. However, no bills have been submitted at this point.

The city has also set aside another $250,000 in legal expenses for work done by the special prosecutor.

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