Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens resigned his office late Tuesday afternoon amid a growing scandal involving an affair and a misuse of his office powers.
This is a developing story – video of his resignation announcement is below.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a sometimes brash outsider whose unconventional resume as a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL officer made him a rising star in Republican politics, abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday after a scandal involving an affair with his former hairdresser led to a broader investigation by prosecutors and state legislators.
The 44-year-old governor made the announcement nearly 17 months after taking the oath as Missouri’s chief executive with a pledge to root out “corrupt career politicians.” The investigations of him widened to include questions about whether he had violated the law in financing the campaign.
Greitens said his resignation would take effect Friday.
A St. Louis grand jury indicted Greitens on Feb. 22 on one felony count of invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a photo of the woman without her consent at his home in 2015, before he was elected governor. The charge was dismissed during jury selection, but a special prosecutor was considering whether to refile charges.
In April, the local St. Louis prosecutor’s office charged Greitens with another felony, alleging that he improperly used the donor list for a charity that he’d founded to raise money for his 2016 campaign.
Less than two weeks ago, the Missouri Legislature began meeting in special session to consider whether to pursue impeachment proceedings to try to oust Greitens from office.
A special House investigatory committee had subpoenaed Greitens to testify next Monday.
Greitens’ brashness alienated some GOP legislators even before his affair became public in January.
The woman’s then-husband released a secretly recorded conversation in which she described the alleged incident. The woman later told a Missouri House investigative committee that Greitens restrained, slapped, shoved and threatened her during a series of sexual encounters that at times left her crying and afraid.
Greitens said the allegations amounted to a “political witch hunt,” and vowed to stay in office. But the report’s release created a firestorm, with both Republicans and Democrats calling for his resignation.
His departure elevates fellow Republican Lt. Gov. Mike Parson to the governor’s office.
Greitens’ administration was thrown into chaos the night of Jan. 10, when a St. Louis TV station aired a report about Greitens allegedly taking the compromising photo and threatening to blackmail the woman if she ever spoke of their encounter. The report aired shortly after Greitens delivered his State of the State address to lawmakers.
Here is video of the statement.
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