The reaction to allegations that Governor Eric Greitens blackmailed a woman he admitted to having an extra marital affair with has been swift.
The governor acknowledged the relationship on Facebook Wednesday night, but his attorney James Bennett, denied the accusations in the same post.
Greitens is alleged to have snapped a photo of the woman he had the intimate relationship with while she was naked and blind folded, and then threatened to distribute it if she talked about their activity. A St. Louis TV station ran a story Wednesday night that featured the unnamed woman describing her relationship with Greitens to her ex-husband, who was recording the conversation.
Democratic State Senator Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis called for Greitens to resign on the chamber’s floor Thursday, while Republican Senator Doug Libla of Poplar Bluff called for an investigation into the allegations.
Democratic Senate Leaders Gina Walsh of Bellefontaine Neighbors and Kiki Curls of Kansas City issued the following statement calling for an inquiry into the matter.
“Allegations of extortion, coercion, or threats of violence must be investigated by the proper authorities,” the Senators said. “People accused of these egregious acts do not get to waive off the scrutiny of law enforcement simply because they are in a position of power; and victims of these crimes deserve our full support.”
In the Wednesday night Facebook post, Sheena Greitens, the Governor’s wife, seemed to call for scrutiny of the blackmail accusations to be dropped.
“We have a loving marriage and an awesome family; anything beyond that is between us and God,” said Sheena Greitens. “I want the media and those who wish to peddle gossip to stay away from me and my children.”
Missouri House leadership, including Speaker Todd Richardson, Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, and Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo released a statement Thursday morning, saying
“While the details of the story continue to emerge, the allegations made against the governor last night are deeply concerning. The governor must be forthright and accountable for his actions.”
Nita Chaudhary of the national women’s advocacy group, UltraViolet, also issued a statement Thursday.
“Sexual exploitation and blackmail are crimes—plain and simple—and are unacceptable in any sphere of society, especially from our elected officials,” Chaudhary said. “The people of Missouri deserve better from their Governor. Eric Greitens should resign immediately.”
Republican State Senator Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph, who vigorously sparred with Governor Greitens in the last legislative session, offered a single phrase to describe the Governor predicament Wednesday night, “Stick a fork in him.”