JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that centers on whether the Missouri Attorney General’s office violated attorney-client privilege because it received a recording of a conversation between a central Missouri prosecutor and his attorney after the prosecutor was arrested.

Moniteau County Attorney Shayne Healea is asking the court to disqualify the attorney general’s office as special prosecutor in the case, which began when Healea backed into a Columbia restaurant in 2014, injuring four people.

Tuesday’s hearing was the latest of several court proceedings after Farrow discovered in 2016 that Columbia police recorded a phone conversation between Healea and Farrow the night of Healea’s arrest. The recording was later given to then-Assistant Attorney General Julie Tolle, who was special prosecutor at the time.

Circuit Judge Frederick Tucker previously suppressed the recording, ruling it violated the U.S. Constitution and state law. That ruling and others were appealed, bringing the case the state Supreme Court.

Farrow argued during Tuesday’s hearing that the attorney general’s office should be replaced as special prosecutor because it violated attorney-client privilege by having a recording of the conversation, The Columbia Missourian reported . He also wants the recording to be deleted from Columbia police servers and said anyone who listened to it should be disqualified from the case.

Solicitor General John Sauer responded that the attorney general’s office should remain as special prosecutor because the office didn’t know the contents of the recording, which was sent to the office “with the vague and misleading label ‘Building Video Copy #1,'” — and no one in the office listened it.

Farrow told the judges he believed Sauer and Deputy Attorney General Darrell Moore’s statements that they hadn’t listened to the recording. But he said he couldn’t be sure no one in the office listened to the recording and it was possible a Columbia police officer spoke to the Attorney General’s office about the recording’s contents.

Sauer said misconduct at the Columbia Police Department was separate from actions in the attorney general’s office.

Sauer and Farrow agreed that no part of the recording should be made public and a part of a special master’s report on the case that mentions the recording should be sealed.

Healea has argued previously that evidence about his blood alcohol content should be thrown out because a warrant for it can’t be found. That issue was not discussed at Tuesday’s hearing.

It was not clear when the court will rule.

The ruling could impact the case against a Hannibal man accused of a 2016 killing. The case of Timothy Brokes, who’s charged with killing Brittany Gauch, has stalled over questions surrounding a recording of a conversation between Brokes and lawyers at the Marion County Jail. Tenth Circuit Presiding Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd indicated she would wait for the verdict on the Healea case before making a decision on sealing portions of evidence in the Brokes case.


Information from: Columbia Missourian, http://www.columbiamissourian.com