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.

Cases: 307332

Reported Deaths: 7095
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20757248
Hinds19869408
Harrison17475302
Rankin13307275
Jackson13095243
Madison9886210
Lee9854169
Jones8289160
Forrest7522146
Lauderdale7185237
Lowndes6261144
Lamar610284
Lafayette6026117
Washington5279132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4440103
Pearl River4418139
Warren4277118
Marshall4267100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4056132
Union403575
Neshoba3984176
Lincoln3869107
Hancock371985
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3177104
Scott310472
Yazoo304268
Alcorn297664
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265679
Wayne261341
Leake260973
Grenada254882
Covington254380
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237647
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182354
Stone179131
Clarke176676
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163130
Yalobusha158636
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite119941
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95126
Humphreys94332
Franklin81723
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518588

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753351487
Mobile37698798
Madison33829494
Tuscaloosa25245443
Montgomery23942565
Shelby23094238
Baldwin20617300
Lee15510165
Calhoun14277311
Morgan14137268
Etowah13660345
Marshall11952219
Houston10379278
Elmore9988200
Limestone9806147
Cullman9467188
St. Clair9422234
Lauderdale9208227
DeKalb8745181
Talladega8042171
Walker7087275
Jackson6753110
Autauga6715103
Blount6480135
Colbert6200130
Coffee5397112
Dale4766110
Russell428238
Franklin419882
Chilton4080109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3892146
Escambia387574
Dallas3526149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305475
Lawrence295295
Winston272272
Bibb256258
Marengo248561
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218675
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176741
Monroe171240
Washington163838
Macon154348
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58624
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