Responding to pressure he step aside while in the middle of an indictment on felony computer tampering, Republican Missouri Governor Eric Greitens announced his resignation effective Friday, June 1.
In a defiant televised speech on Tuesday denying wrongdoing and stating he is the victim of “legal harassment,” Greitens cited the demands on his family over the probe.
“This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family,” he said. “I cannot allow those forces to cause pain and difficulty for the people that I love,” Greitens said in his resignation statement.
Greitens, 44, first encountered legal woes in January when he publicly revealed an extramarital affair ahead of an investigative media report the governor had taken images of the woman in a compromising position without her consent.
According to Greitens’ former mistress, the governor attempted to silence her with a threat of blackmail.
Greitens’ attorney has denied his client took photographs, threatened blackmail, or committed violence against his former mistress.
In February, Greitens was indicted and arrested, but a judge later dropped the charge after investigators failed to locate the image Greitens allegedly took of the woman while she was bound.
Two months later, in April, Greitens’ legal troubles swelled when the St. Louis circuit attorney filed a separate felony charge against the governor for allegedly misusing a charity donor list while he was seeking office.
The founder of the non-profit The Mission Continues, the charge alleges Greitens used the charity’s donor list to solicit donations to his campaign.
A Missouri House report released in late April concluded Greitens lied on campaign filings and the use of the charity donor list was a violation of campaign finance laws.
Facing a special session of the Missouri General Assembly to weigh impeachment proceedings, Greitens resigned.
Following his announcement of his intent to step down as governor, Saint Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner notified the public her office was dropping the charge of computer tampering against he governor.
Shortly after, a spokesperson for Gardners’ office admitted attorneys representing Greitens had offered his resignation in exchange for a dismissal of the felony charge. According to sources, Circuit Judge Rex Burlison approved the compromise and the felony charge will be dismissed with prejudice.
“It is time for us to move on. I remain confident that we have the evidence required to pursue charges against Mr. Greitens. But sometimes, pursuing charges is not the right or just thing to do for our city or state,” Gardner told reporters after announcing the felony charge against Greitens had been dropped.
[St. Louis Post-Dispatch] [Photo courtesy AP via The Jefferson City News-Tribune/Southeast Missourian]