Prosecutor Won’t Refile Case Stemming from Greitens’ Affair
A special prosecutor said Friday she will not refile a felony invasion-of-privacy charge against former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a week after Greitens resigned from office amid allegations of personal and political misconduct.
St. Louis prosecutors last month dropped the charge that stemmed from Greitens’ extramarital affair with his hairdresser, and Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker was appointed a short time later to determine whether it should be refiled.
Greitens, a 44-year-old former Navy SEAL officer, resigned June 1 amid multiple investigations. One allegation was that he took a photo of the woman involved in the affair in 2015 without her permission while she was blindfolded and at least partially nude. He also was accused of illegally using a donor email list from a charity he founded to raise money for his campaign. Legislators were meeting in special session to consider possible impeachment.
Baker was tasked with deciding the invasion of privacy case after Judge Rex Burlison last month granted a request from Greitens’ attorneys to call St. Louis Circuit Attorney Gardner as a witness. Greitens’ attorneys argued that a private investigator Gardner hired to look into Greitens had committed perjury and withheld evidence. Gardner had said the judge’s decision left her with no choice but to dismiss the charge and turn it over to a special prosecutor.
A news release from Baker’s office said the prosecutor and her assistants “have exhausted potential leads in examining submitted evidence,” while also enlisting investigators from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The release said the investigation found no corroborating evidence.
Messages seeking comment from Greitens’ attorneys and the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office were not immediately returned.
In exchange for Greitens’ resignation, Gardner last week dropped the charge pertaining to the charity’s email list.
Greitens’ troubles began in January, when St. Louis station KMOV-TV reported that the governor had an affair in 2015 with his hairdresser and played a secretly recorded conversation made by her husband soon after the affair began. Greitens admitted to the affair shortly after the TV report.
Gardner launched an investigation, leading to the grand jury indictment a month later. Greitens denied criminal wrongdoing and blamed Gardner, a Democrat, calling her a “reckless liberal prosecutor.”
The woman testified to a special Missouri House committee that Greitens bound her hands to exercise equipment, blindfolded her and removed her clothes before she saw a flash and heard what sounded like the click of a cellphone camera. She has said Greitens threatened to disseminate the photo if she spoke of their encounter but later told her he had deleted it. Officials have not released the woman’s name.
Greitens’ attorneys have said that St. Louis prosecutors had stopped searching for evidence of the compromising photo after failing to find it on Greitens’ cellphone or in cloud storage. However, the former governor repeatedly declined to answer media questions about the photo.
Scott Simpson, the attorney for the woman involved in the affair, said in a statement that he and his client “hope other women in similar situations are not discouraged by this process.” The statement said “the most intimate” details of the woman’s life “were made public by a vengeful ex-husband and a second man willing to spend millions of dollars spreading lies about her in an effort to save his political career.” The amount of money Greitens spent on his defense has not been disclosed.
The House committee’s report released in April also included the woman’s testimony alleging that Greitens had restrained, slapped, shoved, threatened and belittled her during a series of sexual encounters that at times left her crying and afraid. Greitens didn’t testify before the committee.