Felony charge dropped against outgoing Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens
A St. Louis prosecutor on Wednesday dismissed a felony charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who is planning to step down Friday amid accusations of sexual misconduct.
“It is time for us to move on and help the state of Missouri get back to the business of government,” St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner said during a news conference Wednesday morning.
“I believe the most fair and just way to resolve this situation is to dismiss the computer tampering case. If Mr. Greitens were convicted of this charge, it would be unlikely that he would be sentenced to prison given his first time offender status,” she continued.
Gardner said she remains confident there is enough evidence to pursue charges, “but sometimes it’s not the right thing to do.”
Greitens, a Republican, was previously indicted on a felony charge of computer tampering relating to his campaign’s alleged procurement of a nonprofit donor list from the charity he founded, The Mission Continues, without the charity’s knowledge. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office alleged that Greitens “directed the disclosure” of the donor list to a political fundraiser.
Following the indictment, the outgoing governor said he stood by his work at the charity.
Greitens was also indicted on a felony invasion of privacy charge, though the charge was dropped earlier this month.
The indictments came after CNN affiliate KMOV published an investigation in January alleging that Greitens, who is married, had a sexual relationship with an unidentified woman. In tapes provided by the woman’s ex-husband, she alleges that during sexual encounters, Greitens blackmailed her by threatening to distribute pictures of her if she talked about their affair. Greitens denied the blackmail charge.
During a news conference Tuesday announcing his resignation, Greitens did not admit to legal wrongdoing. He did, however, indicate that the scrutiny he faced had become too intense to continue as governor. His resignation will take effect on Friday afternoon.
“This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family,” Greitens said. “Millions of dollars of mounting legal bills, endless personal attacks designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends. Legal harassment of colleagues, friends and campaign workers and it’s clear that for the forces that oppose us, there is no end in sight. I cannot allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty to the people that I love.”
Greitens had previously defied calls for his resignation, including from top Missouri Republicans. But in addition to his legal troubles, the possibility of impeachment loomed.
Earlier this month, Missouri state lawmakers announced plans to convene a special legislative session to weigh potential disciplinary actions against the governor.