Senators clash over how to handle Greitens affair/blackmail allegations
JEFFERSON CITY - Senators are divided over the political implications of Gov. Eric Greitens' admitted affair and alleged blackmail.
The former husband of the woman involved in the affair said Greitens took a nude photo of her and threatened to use it if she ever told anyone.
Lawmakers agree the claims are troublesome. Where they differed is on moving forward, with some members calling for his resignation, while others are taking a wait-and-see approach.
Republican Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said there needs to be a "thorough investigation" into Greitens.
"If the allegations are proven to be true, he must seriously consider whether or not he has a mandate to lead," Rowden said.
Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, spearheaded a letter asking the attorney general to handle the investigation into the allegations. He said making judgement before the truth is revealed is simply premature.
"These are all simply allegations," Libla said. "I see no charges. You need to have evidence and prove the evidence before someone can be proven guilty.
On the Senate floor Thursday, Democratic Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, said the allegations must be taken seriously and called for the governors resignation.
"I don't know any woman that would go to her husband and lie about having an affair with another man," Nasheed said. "It's appalling that this chamber is this quiet on this issue."
Most senators found little issue with the governors' admitted affair three years ago. The main concern was the assertion of blackmail, which Greitens attorney adamantly denies.
"We're dealing with a situation here where the woman claimed to be tied up in the basement," Nasheed said. "We're dealing with false imprisonment here."
No timetable was given for the investigation, however, with some senators calling for Greitens' resignation, lawmakers said they hope the issue will be resolved quickly.
"I'm not on either side," Libla said. "This is a sad day, in my opinion in the state of Missouri, but with that said, we need to move forward and determine and get a conclusion on this so we can move forward on our business here."