Faced with calls for his resignation from many of his fellow Republicans in the Missouri Legislature and the beginning of impeachment proceedings — even though the most serious charge against him has been dropped — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is not only refusing to walk away, he’s fighting back.
So is the woman at the center of a sex scandal that engulfed Greitens in February. Although Missouri and national media have not released her name, the woman said she felt she had to come forward.
“I’m in the middle of the most difficult, crazy fight that I didn’t ask to be a part of,” the woman told KSDK-TV.
The woman is known only in court documents and transcripts from a state House committee investigating the case as “Witness 1” or “K.S.”
As Greitens’ TV ad campaign began, the woman said she doesn’t want anything from the governor. She just wants to move on with her life.
“I have no ill intentions other than not being made to be a liar. I’m not lying,” she said. “This is hard, it was hard at that time and it’s hard to talk about now. I’m not lying. That’s it. I want to heal.”
Greitens launched a $185,000 TV ad campaign Wednesday to take his case to the voters. The Kansas City Star reported the ad flight was scheduled to run through early June in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Joplin.
The ad blames the sex scandal and felony charges facing Greitens on “fake news.”
”Don’t let the liberals get away with it,” the ad’s narrator says.
“Court documents prove the fake news paid thousands for allegations against Greitens, a liberal St. Louis prosecutor funded by George Soros pressed charges and Democrat leadership orchestrated the false attacks,” the ad’s narrator also says.
Roy Temple, a former Missouri Democratic Party chair, told the Kansas City Star Greitens’ TV ad was “desperate, deceptive and despicable.”
“In other words, it’s 100 percent consistent with the Greitens’ brand,” Temple said.
As PJM reported, Greitens admitted having an extramarital affair with a woman before he became governor. She accused him of taking a partially nude photo of her and threatening to post the picture on the internet if she told anyone about their affair.
The photo and alleged threat prompted the felony invasion of privacy charge. But St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner dropped plans to prosecute that charge because she expected the defense team to call her as a witness.
However, the invasion of privacy charge could be re-filed by a special prosecutor who was appointed after Gardner’s surprise announcement May 14.
Even if that charge is not re-filed, Missouri lawmakers could still vote to impeach Greitens solely on the testimony of the woman involved in the case. A House committee appointed to investigate the case found her testimony credible.
In fact, Greitens doesn’t have to be convicted of anything in court in order to be impeached.
John Hancock, a Republican strategist and KMOX radio host, told CBS Greitens is losing GOP support.
“Eric Greitens’ days, I do believe, are numbered,” Hancock said. “I think all of Republicans would like to see him step aside and spare the drama.”
But impeachment won’t be easy, either.
As the Kansas City Star pointed out, nobody in the Missouri Legislature has ever done this before – ever.
“The (impeachment) rules — the state constitution and Missouri statutes — are vague, and in some places contradictory,” the Star editorialized as it called for new rules to govern the impeachment process.
No matter what happens with the case involving his affair with “K.S.,” Greitens still faces another felony charge involving the alleged use of a donor list he got from a veterans’ charity he founded.
“The court will find Eric innocent of yet another absurd charge, and the people of Missouri will learn the true motives behind this action soon enough,” Greitens’ attorney, Ed Dowd, said when the charge was filed in April. “This allegation is absurd, and Eric will be found innocent of this accusation in court.”
Greitens, while admitting to the affair, has steadfastly denied the unidentified woman’s allegations of sexual violence and blackmail.
“Above all, I am sorry for the pain that this process and my actions have caused my family, my friends and the people of Missouri,” Greitens said in a statement this month after prosecutors dropped the felony charge.
“This experience has been humbling, and I have emerged from it a changed man,” Greitens also said.
He did not apologize to “K.S.” But the woman told KSDK that she would like to offer an apology to Greitens’ wife.
“Oh, I would absolutely apologize. I shouldn’t have been involved with him,” K.S. said, “I should not have gone into her home. I know that.”