Missouri House and Senate Republican leaders quickly responded to a felony charge being dropped against fellow GOP member Governor Eric Greitens. Leadership in both chambers issued statements condemning the governor’s conduct.
House Speaker Todd Richardson of Poplar Bluff, House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr of Springfield, and House Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo of Arnold pointed to two reports issued by a special committee in the chamber that have documented Greitens alleged actions.
The statement from the three lawmakers said they’re awaiting recommendations from the committee on what the chamber’s next move should be. They also noted that the dismissal of the criminal trial offered the governor an opportunity to “share his side of the facts” with the special committee.
Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard of Joplin and Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe of Jefferson City also suggested the governor should appear before the special committee. They said the panel had uncovered a “disturbing pattern of allegations” that are separate from the case dismissed Monday.
The statement from Richard and Kehoe included even tougher language. The two leaders claimed Greitens has lost the moral authority to lead the state and restated their call for him to resign immediately. They said the dismissal of the felony invasion of privacy charge does not change the facts revealed by the House committee.
Greitens still faces an additional felony computer tampering charge for allegedly obtaining and transferring a donor list from his former charity without permission for campaign purpose. In the invasion of privacy case, he was accused of taking and transmitting a non-consensual photo of a woman who was undressed, bound and blindfolded.
Greitens has admitted to an extramarital affair with the woman but denies any criminal wrongdoing in both cases.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, a Democrat, announced late Monday afternoon that she was dismissing the felony invasion of privacy case, saying she plans to refile charges. Gardner indicated her decision was based upon St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison’s “unprecedented decision” to allow Greitens’ defense team to call her to the witness stand.
Her statement concluded by saying that the Circuit Attorney “will be making a decision to either pursue a special prosecutor or make an appointment of one of her assistants to proceed.”
Former U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway, who represents Greitens’ campaign staff, issued a statement Monday afternoon slamming the House committee’s investigation.
She said the committee’s chairman, Republican Representative Jay Barnes of Jefferson City, had “decided to play politics during this secret investigation”, noting her clients have provided more than 14,000 documents related to the committee’s request.