Eric Greitens’ Criminal Charge Dropped—but Prosecutors Will Seek to Refile
The Missouri governor, accused of crimes in the course of an affair, called it ‘a great victory,’ but the embattled Republican is far from clear.
The dropped charges came because of a judge’s ruling that Greitens’ lawyers could call St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner as a witness stemming from allegations of misconduct on her part by allegedly allowing a former lead investigator in the case against the governor to commit and suborn perjury.
Gardner’s spokesperson said the ruling would have put her “in the impossible position of being a witness, subject to cross-examination within the offer of proof by her own subordinates.”
Prosecutors announced that they plan to refile the charge through a special prosecutor or by Gardner assigning the case to one of her assistants.The ruling came days before the state legislature will launch a special session to explore impeachment proceedings against Greitens.
In response to the dropped charge, Greitens told reporters, “This is a great victory and it has been a long time coming. This experience has been humbling, and I have emerged from it a changed man."
The troubles for the GOP rising star began earlier this year when he admitted to having an extramarital affair two years ago. Then the woman with whom he confessed to having this affair alleged publicly that in an effort to cover the whole episode up, he tied her to a bed nude, snapped photos, and threatened to leak them if she ever told anyone anything.
This resulted in Greitens being indicted on felony invasion of privacy charges in February. He dismissed the charge as coming from a “reckless liberal prosecutor” out on a “political witch hunt,” and the Missouri GOP (at least initially) backed him up, claiming that George Soros was also behind the effort to smear and unseat Greitens.
A month ago, a Missouri state House committee released a graphic, 25-page report with testimony from the woman, who said that she felt “coerced” by Greitens and that at different times in their relationship he “smacked” and “shoved” her. Greitens responded to the committee’s report by calling it “tabloid trash.”
If Greitens remains in office, it could damage the bid of Josh Hawley, currently the Missouri Attorney General and leading GOP candidate hoping to seat to unseat Senator Claire McCaskill in 2018. Despite having accepted $50,000 from Greitens back in 2016, attorney general Hawley is currently investigating whether or not Greitens and his staff broke the law by using an app called Confide to delete their communications, some of which may have been linked to his affair and the cover-up. Further, Hawley’s office recently announced that they had uncovered evidence of potential criminal activity involving a veterans charity Greitens’ founded, The Mission Continues.
Hawley’s already waded into questionable waters with some of his comments about women, and if Greitens remains in office, 2018 could mark the second consecutive election in which her conservative opponent’s blunders on women and sex helped her hold on to her senate seat.