Rachel Lippmann

Reporter

Lippmann returned to her native St. Louis after spending two years covering state government in Lansing, Michigan. She earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and followed (though not directly) in Maria Altman's footsteps in Springfield, also earning her graduate degree in public affairs reporting. She's also done reporting stints in Detroit, Michigan and Austin, Texas. Rachel likes to fill her free time with good books, good friends, good food, and good baseball.

Ways to Connect

Updated April 19 at 12 p.m. with comments from circuit attorney's office — A St. Louis judge is allowing the criminal case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to move forward, rejecting a move by the governor's lawyers to dismiss it.

Circuit Judge Rex Burlison on Thursday disagreed with defense attorneys that the conduct by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and an investigator she hired was so bad that the only way to protect Greitens’ rights to a fair trial was to dismiss the felony invasion of privacy charge. 

Prosecutors in St. Louis have to decide soon whether to charge Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens for allegedly misusing a charity donor list during his campaign.

The statute of limitations on the possible charges expires on Sunday, though because the court is closed for the weekend, the deadline to file would be extended to Monday.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Tuesday that he had found evidence Gov. Eric Greitens broke the law when he used a donor list from his charity, The Mission Continues, to raise money for his campaign.

Have questions about the Greitens case? Ask them here and we'll answer them on the Politically Speaking podcast.

Supporters of additional restrictions on protesters outside of St. Louis’ Planned Parenthood’s facility in the Central West End will have to try again next session.

The measure got nine of the 15 needed votes Monday, the final day of the 2017-2018 session of the Board of Aldermen. That means backers of the restrictions will have to start the process over.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen heads back to City Hall Monday for the final day of the current session with several pieces of legislation hanging in the balance.

A protest buffer zone around medical facilities such as Planned Parenthood in the Central West End is the highest-profile measure still awaiting action. Supporters say buffer zone is needed to keep clinic patients and staff safe. Opponents call it a violation of the First Amendment.

Updated April 16 with timeline on ruling  St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison says he'll rule in open court on Thursday about the defense motion to dismiss the felony invasion of privacy trial against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Original story from April 12:

Updated at 8 p.m. with reactions from state officials including Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who called for the governor to resign — The woman with whom Gov. Eric Greitens had an affair in 2015 told a special Missouri House committee investigating his conduct that she felt coerced into a sexual act during one of their early meetings.

The woman, who had been Greitens’ hair stylist, told the committee that Greitens was “controlling” during the encounter on March 21, 2015, tying her to pull-up rings in his basement and tearing her shirt and pants without her consent. She also told the committee she felt compelled to perform oral sex in order to be able to get to work on time. 

Gov. Eric Greitens has been subpoenaed as part of an investigation into whether he used a list of donors to his charity, The Mission Continues, in his campaign for governor.

The fact that Attorney General Josh Hawley had issued subpoenas as part of the probe was already known. A Hawley spokeswoman confirmed in an emailed statement Thursday that the governor was one of the targets.

St. Louis County police are a step closer to using body and dashboard cameras on a full-time basis.

The department on Tuesday officially asked companies to submit bids for 350 dashboard and 120 body cameras. Companies have until May 4 to respond.

A member of the grand jury that decided to not charge a former Ferguson police officer in the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown will likely head to federal court to challenge Missouri’s rules around grand jury secrecy.

The juror wanted to be able to violate the oath of secrecy to “contribute to the current dialogue around race relations” and to correct what the juror saw as misconduct by St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.

The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear the case. Two lower courts have said the state’s oath requiring grand jury secrecy does not violate the rights of the unidentified grand juror.

Four rural counties outside St. Louis will ask their voters Tuesday for more money in an effort to keep officers at their departments and make it easier to hire new ones.

The tax increase requests in Franklin, Gasconade, Jefferson and Warren counties come less than six months after St. Louis voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase to boost funding for public safety. A very similar measure passed in St. Louis County a year ago.

Updated March 26 at 4:30 p.m. with ruling on effort to throw out case based on grand jury instructions — A group of 12 St. Louis residents will decide if Gov. Eric Greitens invaded the privacy of a woman with whom he had an affair in 2015.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison on Monday denied a request by the governor's defense team to hear the case from the bench, rather than a jury.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is alleging that Gov. Eric Greitens may have used a text-erasing app to transmit a photo of his former mistress.

That photo is at the center of Greitens’ felony invasion of privacy case, where he’s accused of taking a revealing photo of the woman without her consent.

Updated March 21 at 6:15 p.m. with additional comments — The presiding judge in St. Louis County has ruled that nearly 80 percent of the circuit’s public defenders have caseloads that leave them unable to effectively represent their clients.

In an order issued Monday, Circuit Judge Douglas Beach proposed several solutions, including a waitlist for defendants who are not in jail and having private attorneys handle low-level felonies.

Attorneys for Gov. Eric Greitens are again asking a judge to throw out the felony invasion of privacy charge against their client, saying grand jurors heard no evidence that he had committed a crime.

“In answering a grand juror’s concern about the lack of a photograph, Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Steele, whether intentional or not, flagrantly misstated the applicable law — misleading the entire grand jury as to the essential elements of the crime on which it was asked to vote,” defense attorney James Martin wrote in a motion to dismiss filed late Monday. For that reason, he said, the charges should be dismissed.

Attorneys for Gov. Eric Greitens want to get his felony invasion of privacy case tried as soon as possible.

His defense team told St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison on Monday they plan to file a motion to move the trial date to April 3, from its current date of May 14. They are also planning to ask that Burlison hear the case, rather than have it go before a jury.

Attorneys for Gov. Eric Greitens say St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and her team still have not turned over the photo at the center of Greitens’ felony invasion of privacy case.

“You’ll have to ask them for sure if they have a photograph, but none has been turned over to us,” defense attorney Jim Martin told reporters Thursday after a court hearing on unrelated evidentiary issues. “We’re relying on whatever they turn over. As I said, we want whatever they have.”

Bobby Bostic was 16 when he committed several felonies in the course of an armed robbery. Two years later, he was sentenced to 241 years in prison.

Advocates for juvenile sentencing reform say that runs contrary to earlier U.S. Supreme Court decisions limiting how harshly the courts can punish young defendants who have not killed anyone, and they are now asking the justices to weigh in.

A St. Louis alderman has been arrested for a series of municipal warrants.

John Collins-Muhammad, D-21st Ward, was taken into custody Monday afternoon after rear-ending a car at a stop sign. A computer check by police investigating the accident revealed the warrants — five from the city of St. Louis and one from Jefferson City.

Original story from 03/08/18; updated with audio from St. Louis on the Air segment on 03/09/18.

Updated at 5 p.m., with comments from an industry analyst — Health insurance giant Cigna has agreed to purchase the St. Louis-based pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts.

The deal, which has already been approved by the boards of both companies, is worth about $67 billion, according to press releases.

An effort to give the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office the responsibility of investigating officer-involved shootings has stalled at the Board of Aldermen.

The board’s public safety committee heard a second day of testimony on the bill Wednesday but did not vote. Because of the board’s process for approving legislation, there’s likely not enough time to send the bill to Mayor Lyda Krewson before the session ends in April.

Retail giant Amazon will build its first Missouri distribution center in the St. Charles County town of St. Peters.

Amazon announced its plan to build the the 800,000-square-foot warehouse in a news release Wednesday. The company expects to hire about 1,500 workers.

A federal appeals court has OK'd the execution of a Missouri man who suffers from a medical condition he says would make the lethal injection unconstitutionally painful.

Russell Bucklew, 49, was sentenced to death in 1996 for shooting and killing a romantic rival, and kidnapping and raping his ex-girlfriend. His execution is set for March 20.

Updated March 9 at 1:50 p.m. with second delay — Supporters of a bill that would keep protesters away from the driveway at Planned Parenthood's Central West End clinic will have one more chance to send it to Mayor Lyda Krewson.

The sponsor of the so-called "buffer zones" again delayed a vote on the bill at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Friday because not enough "yes" votes were in attendance. The board is off until April 16, the last day of the current session If members cannot get enough votes that day, they will have to start over.

Original story from March 2

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will wait at least another week to take a final vote on additional protection for women seeking services from the Planned Parenthood clinic in the Central West End.

The Missouri House of Representatives is considering whether private attorneys across the state should handle more cases where the defendant cannot afford a lawyer.

Currently, the state public defender's office contracts with private attorneys if there is a conflict, or, as needed, to reduce caseloads. The proposal from Rep. Robert Ross, R-Yukon, would have private attorneys handle most lower-level cases. Public defenders would still handle more serious crimes and death-penalty cases.

The decision by a St. Louis grand jury to indict Gov. Eric Greitens for felony invasion of privacy has raised a number of legal issues.

We’ve looked at what it means politically, and what happens next in the court process. We’ve also tried to answer some of what you want to know. Here, we try to explain some of the legalese.

Updated Feb. 23 at 9:10 a.m. with  additional comments from Kim Gardner — A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Gov. Eric Greitens for felony invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a semi-nude photo of a woman without her permission. Greitens was arrested Thursday afternoon, but was released without having to post bond. 

One of his attorneys, Edward Dowd, said in a statement that he plans to file a motion to dismiss the charges.

“In forty years of public and private practice, I have never seen anything like this. The charges against my client are baseless and unfounded. My client is absolutely innocent,” he said.

St. Louis aldermen will wait a few months before voting on a bill that would change the city’s residency requirement.

A committee heard public testimony on Alderwoman Carol Howard’s bill earlier this month but did not take a vote. The current session of the board essentially ends in March, and Howard, D-14th Ward, now says she will wait until lawmakers come back after the break for a new session in April to get a different version approved.

Updated Feb. 21 with St. Louis on the Air conversation with reporter Chris McDaniel

Original story from Feb. 20 — A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that a St. Louis-area compounding pharmacy with a troubled safety history has provided execution drugs to the state of Missouri for the last four years.

Sources told BuzzFeed News reporter Chris McDaniel that Foundation Care, based in Earth City, supplied the drugs for 17 executions since February 2014. Foundation Care denied its participation in executions to McDaniel, and did not respond to requests for comment from St. Louis Public Radio.

St. Louis voters will decide this summer whether the city should borrow about $50 million to buy new fire equipment, upgrade electrical panels at City Hall, install permanent air conditioning at the city jail known as the Workhouse, and other projects.

Aldermen sent the bond issue to Mayor Lyda Krewson on Friday. Her signature will place the borrowing on the August ballot, when it will require a two-thirds majority to pass. The bond issue will not increase taxes.

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