UPDATE: Greitens, lawmakers react to indictment for invasion of privacy

7 months 2 days 13 hours ago Thursday, February 22 2018 Feb 22, 2018 Thursday, February 22, 2018 4:19:00 PM CST February 22, 2018 in News
By: Annie Hammock, KOMU 8 Interactive Director and Claire Kopsky, KOMU 8 Reporter
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ST. LOUIS - Gov. Eric Greitens is calling his indictment on invasion of privacy a "disappointing and misguided political decision."

He is facing felony charges related to an admitted affair and accusations of blackmail.

Greitens has repeatedly denied he blackmailed a woman he had a brief affair with. The woman's husband released an audio tape in which she said Greitens took a nude photo of her and threatened to expose it if she ever went public.

Court documents said Greitens knowingly took the photograph without her knowledge and consent and in a place where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Greitens statement said, "As I have said before, I made a personal mistake before I was Governor. I did not commit a crime."

On the audiotape provided by the woman's husband, she can be heard crying, saying Greitens bound her hands with duct tape, blindfolded her and then took the nude picture without her consent.

On the recording she said, "He stepped back, I saw a flash through the blindfold and he said, 'You're never going to mention my name.'"

The indictment says Greitens also uploaded the photograph electronically in a way that allowed access via a computer.

In his statement, Greitens said the prosecutor is a "reckless liberal" who uses the office to "score political points."

Greitens' attorney released a statement earlier.

Edward L Dowd, Jr. said, “In forty years of public and private practice, I have never seen anything like this. The charges against my client are baseless and unfounded. My client is absolutely innocent. We will be filing a motion to dismiss.”

In another recent statement he further added, "In unprecedented fashion, the Circuit Attorney circumvented the local police force and hired her own investigators - we attempted to meet with the Circuit Attorney and make the Governor available to discuss the issues. They refused."

The indictment is already reviving calls for Greitens' resignation.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe spoke about Greitens’ indictment.

“I’m shocked and saddened quite honestly because the state of Missouri is a fantastic state that a lot of people love and when you have something that sidetracks you like this it’s always a shock to the system.”

Senator Kehoe said he’s surprised to see this behavior from a Navy Seal.

“My concern is of the governor’s ability to lead the state, and the governor full well knows as a Navy seal that he understands the roles and responsibility of leadership and it’s my opinion that we should take that into consideration,” he said. “We’re going to have to decide if his ability to lead the state is something he’s able to do going forward.”

Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, released a statement saying it will be "extremely difficult for the Greitens to do his job now.

"While the criminal justice system must run its course, the governor needs to consider whether remaining in office under these circumstances is the right thing to do for not only himself and his family but for the people of Missouri," she said.

Republican leaders in the House said they'll give the indictment a serious look.

Speaker of the House Todd Richardson, Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, and Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo released a joint statement saying, “We will carefully examine the facts contained in the indictment and answer the question as to whether or not the governor can lead our state while a felony case moves forward.  The people of Missouri deserve no less.  We will begin the process of tasking a group of legislators to investigate these serious charges.” 

Kehoe said Missourians need to remember there are still people in the capitol working for Missourians.

“Missouri is more than just one man, Missouri is more than just one individual and we are a state of great people and great resources and hardworking folks that know how to manufacture things, get the job done, know how to take care of our farms, take care of our industries and that’s what Missouri is about.”

In his statement, Greitens said the indictment, "will not for a moment deter me from doing the important work of the great people of Missouri."

UPDATE: At 9:00 p.m. Greitens' attorney released a new statement to news media.

“We welcome reviewing this issue with the independent, bipartisan committee of the Missouri House of Representatives.

For 40 years as an attorney for the public and for private litigants, I have never seen anything like this. The charges are unfounded and baseless. The Governor is absolutely innocent. Not only is he presumed innocent – he is innocent. This whole investigation is completely unusual.

This statute has never been used like this in Missouri history. In unprecedented fashion, the Circuit Attorney circumvented the local police force and hired her own investigators - we attempted to meet with the Circuit Attorney and make the Governor available to discuss the issues. They refused. She proceeded to file an indictment that has no facts.

We will work with the committee. We will be deposing witnesses and will be happy to share information with you with the Court’s permission.”

The following are unedited statements from the Governor Greitens, his attorney and various lawmakers

Governor Eric Greitens

“As I have said before, I made a personal mistake before I was Governor. I did not commit a crime.

With today’s disappointing and misguided political decision, my confidence in our prosecutorial system is shaken, but not broken. I know this will be righted soon.

The people of Missouri deserve better than a reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points.

I look forward to the legal remedies to reverse this action.

This will not for a moment deter me from doing the important work of the great people of Missouri.”

Joint Statement from House Speaker Todd Richardson, Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr and Floor Leader Rob Vescovo

“We will carefully examine the facts contained in the indictment and answer the question as to whether or not the governor can lead our state while a felony case moves forward.  The people of Missouri deserve no less.  We will begin the process of tasking a group of legislators to investigate these serious charges.” 

Senator Caleb Rowden

“When the allegations against Governor Greitens were made public I called on law enforcement to conduct a thorough investigation, and I encouraged the Governor to examine whether or not he still had a mandate to lead the State of Missouri.

I am disgusted to learn that a grand jury has found sufficient evidence to indict Governor Greitens on a felony charge. The conservative values that put us in office are far bigger than any single person. For the sake of our state, I am calling on Governor Greitens to put an end to this distraction and resign immediately. Should he refuse to step aside, I will call on my colleagues in the house to take all necessary actions to remove the Governor from office.”

Greitens’ Attorney Edward L. Dowd, Jr. Statement #1

“In forty years of public and private practice, I have never seen anything like this. The charges against my client are baseless and unfounded. My client is absolutely innocent. We will be filing a motion to dismiss.”

Statement #2

“We welcome reviewing this issue with the independent, bipartisan committee of the Missouri House of Representatives.

For 40 years as an attorney for the public and for private litigants, I have never seen anything like this. The charges are unfounded and baseless. The Governor is absolutely innocent. Not only is he presumed innocent – he is innocent. This whole investigation is completely unusual.

This statute has never been used like this in Missouri history. In unprecedented fashion, the Circuit Attorney circumvented the local police force and hired her own investigators - we attempted to meet with the Circuit Attorney and make the Governor available to discuss the issues. They refused. She proceeded to file an indictment that has no facts.

We will work with the committee. We will be deposing witnesses and will be happy to share information with you with the Court’s permission.”

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty

"It will be extremely difficult for the governor to effectively do his job with a felony indictment hanging over his head. While the criminal justice system must run its course, the governor needs to consider whether remaining in office under these circumstances is the right thing to do for not only himself and his family but for the people of Missouri."

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