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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens admits to affair but denies blackmail allegation

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens confronted bombshell allegations of sexual misconduct and blackmail Wednesday night -- sa...

Posted: Jan 11, 2018 5:24 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2018 5:24 PM

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens confronted bombshell allegations of sexual misconduct and blackmail Wednesday night -- salacious charges that forced a rising Republican star to acknowledge that he had had an extramarital affair but also vehemently deny that he had resorted to blackmail.

CNN affiliate KMOV published an investigation alleging that Greitens, who is married, had a sexual relationship with an unidentified woman. The woman's ex-husband cooperated with KMOV, providing what he said was a recording from 2015 of his former wife describing in detail disturbing interactions she had with Greitens.

Missouri governor releases statement about extramarital affair

His lawyer denies blackmail allegation as false

In the recording aired by KMOV, the woman says she went to Greitens' house, where a sexual encounter took place.

"And he used some sort of tape, I don't what it was, and taped my hands to these rings and then put a blindfold on me," she said in the recording, recalling that Greitens told her that "'you're never going to mention my name,' otherwise there will be pictures of me (the woman) everywhere."

In the recorded conversation, the woman said Greitens apologized to her afterwards and told her he had deleted the picture, KMOV reported.

"He took a picture of my wife naked as blackmail. There is no worse person," the ex-husband told the station.

In a series of statements Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Greitens pushed back on key allegations from the woman's ex-husband. Greitens' lawyer, James Bennett, said in a statement, "There was no blackmail and that claim is false."

"This personal matter has been addressed by the Governor and Mrs. Greitens privately years ago when it happened," Bennett said.-"The outrageous claims of improper conduct regarding these almost three-year-ago events are false."

Answering multiple follow-up questions from CNN, Bennett clarified that the governor explicitly denies taking a photo of the woman and suggesting that he could make the photo public. Bennett also said there was no settlement between the governor and the woman, and that there was never a non-disclosure agreement.

Asked whether the governor has been previously accused of misconduct by anyone else other than this woman in question, Bennett responded,-"No."

The governor released a joint statement with his wife, Sheena, Wednesday night, saying that, years before he was elected governor, "there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage." Greitens was elected to office in 2016.

"This was a deeply personal mistake. Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately. While we never would have wished for this pain in our marriage, or the pain that this has caused others, with God's mercy Sheena has forgiven and we have emerged stronger," according to the couple's statement.

The news of the extramarital affair and allegations of blackmail came on the same night that Greitens delivered the State of the State speech.

State legislative leaders from both parties reacted to the KMOV's report with dismay.

"Like many Missourians, we find these serious allegations shocking and concerning. As this situation is evolving, we expect the governor to be honest and forthright," said Republican state Sens. Ron Richard, Mike Kehoe and Bob Onder in a joint statement.

Their Democratic leadership counterparts called for an investigation.

"In light of the very serious allegations made against the governor, there are many questions still left unanswered. But let's be clear -- violence and threats against women are never acceptable," said state Sens. Gina Walsh and Kiki Curls in a joint statement. "Allegations of extortion, coercion or threats of violence must be investigated by the proper authorities. People accused of these egregious acts do not get to waive off the scrutiny of law enforcement simply because they are in a position of power; and victims of these crimes deserve our full support."

Greitens campaigned in 2016 as a political outsider. The former Navy Seal and his wife married in 2011 and have two children.

"We have a loving marriage and an awesome family; anything beyond that is between us and God," Sheena Greitens said in an additional statement. "I want the media and those who wish to peddle gossip to stay away from me and my children."

As governor, Greitens has alienated some state lawmakers in his own party with sometimes scathing criticism of the legislature. But that approach has also helped him to cultivate a reputation among the national party as a promising prospect. He traveled to Iowa last year, stoking speculation about his national political ambitions.

This story has been updated.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 66646

Reported Deaths: 1874
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5599118
DeSoto363230
Harrison249836
Madison241464
Rankin227633
Jackson226942
Jones188558
Forrest177856
Washington164641
Lee142839
Lauderdale140792
Neshoba128592
Lamar120214
Oktibbeha111838
Bolivar110834
Warren108932
Lowndes107437
Panola105412
Sunflower102425
Scott99820
Lafayette96416
Copiah95028
Pike92836
Leflore92562
Holmes89048
Grenada84321
Yazoo82912
Pontotoc8218
Lincoln80941
Simpson79530
Leake78625
Monroe77853
Wayne76421
Coahoma74312
Tate72028
Marshall6889
Marion65720
Union62716
Winston62016
Adams61725
Covington61213
George5595
Newton54211
Pearl River54038
Tallahatchie53010
Attala52125
Walthall49819
Chickasaw45920
Noxubee45311
Alcorn4195
Calhoun4179
Prentiss41710
Tishomingo4095
Claiborne40413
Smith40413
Clay39413
Hancock38814
Jasper3879
Tippah36013
Itawamba35810
Tunica3337
Clarke32625
Montgomery3213
Lawrence3197
Yalobusha31310
Humphreys29111
Quitman2621
Carroll26111
Greene24111
Kemper23214
Perry2327
Jefferson Davis2316
Amite2306
Webster22812
Wilkinson20513
Sharkey1975
Jefferson1957
Stone1944
Benton1431
Choctaw1334
Franklin1242
Issaquena261
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12969243
Mobile9836206
Montgomery6609148
Madison531433
Tuscaloosa419073
Unassigned356061
Baldwin350224
Shelby326035
Marshall313035
Lee266045
Morgan236918
Etowah210431
DeKalb179813
Calhoun176113
Elmore171538
Walker152064
Houston138612
Russell13582
St. Clair132817
Dallas131823
Limestone131813
Franklin127020
Cullman122012
Colbert117113
Lauderdale115717
Autauga108621
Escambia107516
Talladega100913
Jackson9684
Tallapoosa85479
Chambers84038
Dale82723
Blount7884
Chilton7886
Butler75836
Coffee7566
Covington73420
Pike7037
Clarke6629
Barbour5735
Lowndes57124
Marion57024
Marengo55315
Hale47326
Bullock46311
Winston45011
Perry4404
Bibb4265
Wilcox42610
Monroe4194
Randolph39610
Pickens3929
Conecuh38810
Washington38612
Sumter36018
Lawrence3481
Macon33414
Crenshaw3143
Choctaw28112
Cherokee2707
Henry2593
Geneva2570
Clay2525
Greene25011
Lamar2202
Fayette2045
Cleburne1261
Coosa1012
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