Former Navy SEAL and current Missouri Republican Governor Eric R. Greitens was facing a felony charge for invasion of privacy. On Monday, the charges were dropped in the middle of jury selection. However, the prosecution has announced an intent to refile. Eric Greitens, formerly both a Navy SEAL and a Democrat, ran against the political establishment to win a shocking upset in the 2016 election to become the 56th governor of Missouri. His campaign was met by frequent controversy, to include investigations into alleged violations of campaign finance law.
It was on February 22, 2018 that Greitens was arrested and indicted on a felony invasion of privacy charge related to an affair that he had engaged in prior to becoming governor. Greitens admitted to having the affair with his hair stylist in 2015, the woman in question alleged that during an intimate moment, Greitens had taken pictures without her consent and had proceeded to threaten her that the pictures would be made public if she ever revealed the affair. While Greitens admitted to the affair, no evidence of the photo even being in existence has been presented by any of the parties involved, to include the prosecution.
The decision to drop the felony charge came after a judge in the case ruled that the governor could call St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, the lead prosecutor, as a witness during the trial. According to the governor’s legal team, the judge allowed the defense team to name Gardner as a witness based on their claims that she knew about perjury allegedly committed by the lead investigator in the case.
Today, the prosecutor dropped the false charges against me.
This was a great victory and a long time coming. I've said from the beginning that I am innocent.
— Eric Greitens (@EricGreitens) May 14, 2018
“At this time, I’d ask people of goodwill to come together so that all of us can continue to do good together,” said Governor Greitens.
Following the dismissal of charges, a member of Greitens’ legal team announced his intent to file a police report against lead investigator William Tisaby for lying about his methods and the evidence that had been collected.
In a statement, defense attorney Ed Dowd said that “this misconduct must be investigated. I have a lot of confidence in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and I am sure they will get to the bottom of the misdeeds and illegal activity in this case.” Tisaby has allegedly been under investigation since April 18th; however, the St. Louis Police have not confirmed these claims. According to Tisaby’s attorney, his client is being used as a scapegoat and had done nothing illegal or immoral during the investigation.
However, the legal troubles may not be completely over for Governor Greitens. Gardner issued a statement that she would be evaluating how best to refile the charge and/or appoint a special prosecutor to pursue the case.
According to Dowd, there is no way for charges to be refiled, saying, “That’s a joke. The clown car crashed into a tree.” Governor Greitens still faces a criminal charge for allegedly using the donor list for his charity, The Mission Continues, to raise funds for his political campaign. Additionally, the Missouri State Senate is holding a special session that will decide if they will move forward with impeachment for the governor.