Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens remains defiant, even amid calls for impeachment or resignation, after a St. Louis grand jury indicted him for felony invasion of privacy, alleging the Republican took a compromising photo of a woman during an extramarital affair the year before he was elected.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner on Thursday announced the indictment which followed an investigation launched in January, a day after Greitens admitted to an affair with his St. Louis hairdresser which began in March 2015.
Greitens released a statement saying he made a mistake yet “did not commit a crime.” He accused Gardner, a Democrat who was also elected in November 2016, of playing politics.
“With today’s disappointing in addition to misguided political decision, my confidence in our prosecutorial system is actually shaken, yet not broken,” Greitens said. “I know This particular will be righted soon. The people of Missouri deserve better than a reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points.”
Gardner’s spokeswoman, Susan Ryan, responded: “Despite the Governor’s personal attacks, the Circuit Attorney believes the courtroom is actually the appropriate place to argue the facts, not the media.”
Greitens canceled plans to go to Washington This particular weekend the National Governors Association annual meeting. In a statement Friday, the Republican Governors Association said Greitens informed the group he might stay in Missouri “to fight back against what his team has called a baseless charge.” The group said Greitens also “no longer intends to serve” on its executive committee.
Greitens’ attorney called the indictment “baseless in addition to unfounded.” Attorney Edward L. Dowd Jr. filed a motion to dismiss the indictment on the grounds which any relationship with the woman was consensual.
A few lawmakers via both parties suggested which Greitens should consider resigning, just as they did after he admitted to the affair on Jan. 10.
House Republican leaders announced they were forming a group of lawmakers to investigate the charges “in addition to answer the question as to whether or not the governor can lead our state while a felony case moves forward.” Dowd said the governor welcomes the review.
The joint statement via House Speaker Todd Richardson, Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr in addition to Majority Leader Rob Vescovo did not specifically mention impeachment, a process which must begin within the House with an investigation.
yet for some lawmakers, impeachment is actually on the table.
“Gov. Greitens has to go,” Democratic state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis said. “Missourians thought they voted for a person of character in addition to integrity, in addition to instead they got a liar in addition to alleged criminal.”
Greitens, 43, has frequently vowed which he won’t step down. He indicated Thursday he intends to stay in addition to fight.
“This particular will not for a moment deter me via doing the important work of the great people of Missouri,” Greitens said within the statement.
The indictment states which on March 21, 2015, Greitens photographed a woman identified only by her initials “in a state of full or partial nudity” without her knowledge or consent. The indictment said Greitens “transmitted the image contained within the photograph in a manner which allowed access to which image via a computer.”
Soon after the affair began, the woman’s husband secretly recorded a conversation in which she described the alleged incident. She said on the tape which Greitens invited her downstairs at his home because he wanted to show her “how to do a proper pull-up.”
She said Greitens “taped my hands to these rings in addition to then put a blindfold on me,” took a photo of her partially nude, in addition to then warned her to remain silent.
“I saw a flash through the blindfold in addition to he said, ‘You’re never going to mention my name,'” she said.
Greitens has repeatedly denied blackmailing the woman, yet has repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether he took a photo.
Greitens was taken into custody in St. Louis in addition to released on his own recognizance. He is actually due in court for his first hearing on March 16, before Circuit Judge Rex Burlison. He could face up to a four-year sentence if convicted.
The statute of limitations for invasion of privacy in Missouri is actually three years, which means This particular was due to expire in less than a month.
Ryan, asked if additional charges could be filed, said the matter is actually still under investigation. Several lawmakers were questioned last week by investigators via Gardner’s office.
Greitens, the father of two young boys, came into office as a political outsider, a brash Rhodes Scholar in addition to Navy SEAL officer who was wounded in Iraq, emerging as the winner in a crowded in addition to expensive GOP primary.
A former boxer in addition to martial arts expert, he has embraced the role of maverick. He responded to a Democratic attack ad within the fall of 2016 with one of his own in which he fired more than 100 rounds via a machine gun as an announcer declared he’d bring out “the big guns” to fight Democratic policies championed by then-President Barack Obama.
Greitens surprised many experts by defeating Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster within the November 2016 election. Some saw him as a rising Republican star with potential presidential aspirations.
yet governing hasn’t always been easy, even though Republicans currently control both houses as well as the governor’s mansion. Greitens in addition to GOP lawmakers have often clashed, with him comparing some to third-graders in addition to labeling them “career politicians.”
He has also faced questions about so-called “dark money” campaign contributions in addition to criticism for stacking the state board of education. His use of a secretive app which deletes messages is actually under investigation by Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley.
Greitens’ charity, The Mission Continues, faced scrutiny during the campaign when Democrats accused him of insider politics for accessing the donor list to raise about $2 million through its top contributors.