Missouri governor faces felony charge for blackmailing ex-mistress

A St. Louis grand jury indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on one count of felony invasion of privacy Thursday.

Mr. Greitens is accused of capturing an image of a nude woman with whom he engaged in an extra-marital affair in 2015 and allegedly blackmailed her into silence over the relationship.

According to a statement released by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who initiated the investigation in January, the woman had a reasonable expectation of privacy; however, Greitens sent the image “in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer.”

Responding to the charge, Greitens accused Ms. Gardner of being a “reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points.”

“As I have stated before, it is essential for residents of the City of St. Louis and our state to have confidence in their leaders. They must know that the Office of the Circuit Attorney will hold public officials accountable in the same manner as any other resident,”a statement by Gardner read.

Greiten resigned his position on the Republican Governors Association’s executive committee Friday.

News of the Greiten’s relationship with his former hairstylist broke in January with the release of audio recordings in which Greiten’s ex-mistress is heard admitting to liaisons with the governor to her husband.  The unnamed woman’s husband released the audio in January.

On the recording, the woman recounted seeing a flash while blindfolded and being restrained during one encounter. She also said Greitens intimidated her into silence using the image as leverage.

Greitens publicly admitted to the extra-marital affair shortly thereafter, describing it as a “deeply personal mistake.”  Greitens’ attorney insists there was no photograph, threats or blackmail.

Greitens has also said he admitted the relationship to his wife, Sheena, and they have since reconciled.

Seen as a rising star in the GOP, Greitens is graduate of Duke University, where he obtained a degree in ethics.  He served in the U.S. Navy with the SEALs, eventually rising to the rank of lieutenant commander and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Following the indictment, Greitens was arrested, booked and later released.  The governor is allowed to travel while awaiting trial and is scheduled to re-appear in court in March.

 

[KMOV.com] [Reuters] [Photo courtesy ABC News]