On Jan. 11, a St. Louis’ CBS affiliate, KMOV, revealed that Republican Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri was accused of blackmail. In an audio recording given to KMOV by the ex-husband of Greitens’ hairstylist, the hairstylist, whose identity remains unknown, confirmed an affair between her and Greitens in March 2015. The ex-husband of the unnamed hairstylist recorded the conversation without her knowledge.
In the recording, the hairstylist recounts an encounter in which Greitens, after inviting her to his home, taped her hands to exercise rings and blindfolded her, all with her consent. He proceeded to take a picture of her with his cell phone, telling her that if she revealed the affair to anyone, the picture would be leaked. Later in the recording, the woman says that Greitens eventually deleted the photo and apologized to her.
Though Greitens admitted to the affair, he denies the blackmail allegations. He posted a statement on Facebook Jan. 16 that stated, “Much has now been written about this, and many of the assertions made have not been truthful and have proven extremely hurtful to Sheena, as well as to me. For us, the allegations that go so far beyond the facts have made this much more difficult. I made a mistake, I regret it, and Sheena and I have dealt with it between us.”
According to Greitens’s wife, Sheena, they are working through their problems but maintain faith in the relationship. Sheena released a statement saying, “We have a loving marriage and an awesome family; anything beyond that is between us and God.”
Greitens, a St. Louis native, was elected in November 2016. He rose to prominence as a self-proclaimed “political outsider,” intent on weeding the corruption out of Jefferson City. He passionately avowed pro-family values during his gubernatorial campaign. Since his election, one of his most notable achievements was appointing over 30 women to state boards and commissions, creating a majority-female cabinet. Still, controversy has followed him throughout his tenure, starting with a fine given shortly after his inauguration for violating state campaign ethics rules and, more recently, with a possible violation of public record laws after state government employees were found to be using a messaging app that deleted messages after being sent.
The allegations come a year after his election in January 2017. A St. Louis circuit attorney has launched a formal investigation into the situation.
Legislators from both the Democratic Party and Greitens’s own Republican Party have called for his resignation, fearing that the scandal will impede state proceedings. Greitens has not indicated intent to resign.
Photo courtesy of People.com