Governor Eric Greitens’ first court date to address Invasion of Privacy charges is more than two weeks off, but the legislature is preparing for all possibilities.
Numerous lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have called for the governor to step down while at least two Senators, a Republican and a Democrat, have mentioned impeachment.
Republican House leadership announced last Thursday that a committee would be named to investigate the single count felony accusation against the GOP governor. It’s not known if impeachment proceedings are being considered, but the process for doing so is specific.
First, a House member would have to file a resolution calling for an impeachment investigation. The House Speaker would then refer the resolution to an existing or newly created committee. The panel, after examining the allegations, could draft articles of impeachment to be reported to the House.
The full chamber would then treat the articles as a bill which would have to be read in. Adoption of any articles of impeachment would require a constitutional majority of the House – 82 members – which would vote twice before any action is finalized. Once articles were adopted, the Senate would select a special commission of seven judges to try the case.
Governor Greitens was indicted by a public grand jury Thursday and was arraigned the same day. His first scheduled court date was stayed and rescheduled for March 16th in St. Louis Circuit Court.
The invasion of privacy charges stem from a secretly recorded conversation in which a woman intimately involved with Greitens described an incident in which he allegedly snapped a photo of her in a compromising position and threatened to distribute it if she mentioned his name.
Eight governors across the country have been removed from office over the years while many more have been accused of crimes and have either been acquitted or resigned.
Most recently, Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois was expelled from his seat in January 2009 after a unanimous vote by that state’s Senate. He was also federally indicted, convicted and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat held by Barack Obama after his Presidential election in 2008.
The Missouri state Senators who have thus far mentioned impeachment are Democrat Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis and Republican Caleb Rowden of Columbia. Nasheed wants proceedings to start immediately while Rowden called on the governor to step down or face impeachment.
A group of Republican House members held a press conference Monday afternoon to call for the resignation of Gov. Eric Greitens.