Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted Feb. 22 after allegations of sexual misconduct and blackmail were revealed in mid-January. The allegations concern a consensual encounter in March of 2015 during which Greitens allegedly took a partially nude photo of his hairstylist without her permission, threatening to leak it if she revealed the affair to anyone.
Booked for felony invasion of privacy by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, Greitens maintains his innocence, admitting only to extramarital relations. In a written statement on Facebook, Greitens referred to the indictment as a “misguided political decision,” calling Gardner a “reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points.” He assured the people of Missouri that he will not put the investigation ahead of the state and its citizens. His trial is tentatively scheduled for May 14.
The Missouri House of Representatives voted Feb. 26 to pass a bill that would outlaw the dissemination or threat of dissemination of private nude photos in a 149-1 vote. The bill will head to the Senate next.
Seven Missouri House members, five Republicans and two Democrats, comprise a special panel that is investigating the charges.
Impeachment has not been tabled as of yet. If the investigation finds him guilty, impeachment proceedings would surely be forthcoming. Several constituents are calling upon Greitens to resign, citing potential interference of the burden of the investigation with more important state affairs. Greitens rejects the demands.
As the investigation into the allegations deepens, more questions about Greitens’ conduct in office arise, and the scope of the investigation could broaden, though implications of this claim remain unclear.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has launched an investigation into Greitens’ veterans charity, The Mission Continues, which may have violated charitable registration and reporting laws. This investigation is unrelated but will run concurrently with Gardner’s.
Additionally, an investigation Hawley ran concerning the use of a private messaging app by Missouri state government employees concluded March 1, finding no evidence of wrongdoing. A little over a year after his inauguration, the amount of conflict that surrounds Greitens at this point in his governorship could portend trouble for the rest of his term.
Photo courtesy of the Federalist.