STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Eric Greitens is in deep, deep trouble

The indictment of Missouri Republ...

Posted: Feb 23, 2018 11:12 AM
Updated: Feb 23, 2018 11:12 AM

The indictment of Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony charge of invasion of privacy Thursday night further imperils his already dicey political future.

The charge stems from allegations that Greitens used a photo of his naked mistress as a form of blackmail to keep her quiet about their affair. Greitens had acknowledged the affair but denied the blackmail allegation.

In a statement on the indictment, the circuit attorney for St. Louis, Kimberly Gardner, said the alleged incident took place in 2015; she pledged to "hold public officials accountable in the same manner as any other resident."

Greitens' attorney, Edward Dowd Jr., said of the charge: "In forty years of public and private practice, I have never seen anything like this. The charges against my client are baseless and unfounded. My client is absolutely innocent. We will be filing a motion to dismiss."

I'm no lawyer and won't make any predictions about how the legal proceedings will play out. But I know politics -- and I can guarantee you Greitens' chances of surviving this mess just went way down.

Greitens appeared to have weathered the initial furor caused by KMOV's first report of the affair and the allegations in January. That, in spite of the fact that some of the enemies he had made within his own party used the revelations to even the score with him; he received only tepid support from Republicans in the state Legislature.

"Like many Missourians, we find these serious allegations shocking and concerning," Missouri Senate Republican leaders said in a statement. "As this situation is evolving, we expect the governor to be honest and forthright."

As Jason Rosenbaum of St. Louis Public Radio told me last month of Greitens: "He doesn't have the robust support among elected political leaders to get a lot of backup right now. Railing against 'career politicians' can be an attractive message, but it can also have its downsides when those people have to pass your agenda."

But the dam never really broke on Greitens. For the past month-plus, he disappeared from the national news -- and Republicans in the state weren't forced daily to go on the record either in support or opposition to him.

Then today happened.

It is going to be very, very hard for any Republican in Missouri -- or anywhere else -- to avoid having a position on whether Greitens should stay or go after the indictment.

"We will carefully examine the facts contained in the indictment, and answer the question as to whether or not the governor can lead our state while a felony case moves forward," Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson, Floor Leader Rob Vescovo and Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr -- all Republicans -- said Thursday in a statement, announcing they have begun an investigation into the matter. "The people of Missouri deserve no less. We will begin the process of tasking a group of legislators to investigate these serious charges."

The Democratic Governors Association called for Greitens to resign late Thursday -- and you can expect plenty more Democrats to follow suit.

Greitens may try to bunker in -- again -- in hopes that this all passes, he is exonerated and he can recover enough to be a credible candidate for a second term in 2020.

But given Missouri's clear Republican lean -- and the seriousness of the charge Greitens is facing -- it's possible that Republicans in the state (and nationally) will decide to cut bait on the incumbent rather than risk badly tarnishing the party's brand.

I might even say that scenario is now probable.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 308737

Reported Deaths: 7139
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20901250
Hinds19953410
Harrison17551302
Rankin13358276
Jackson13141243
Madison9949211
Lee9886170
Jones8308161
Forrest7537147
Lauderdale7221237
Lowndes6286144
Lamar613284
Lafayette6063117
Washington5288133
Bolivar4775129
Oktibbeha457097
Panola4456103
Pearl River4433141
Warren4294118
Marshall4283101
Pontotoc417572
Monroe4061132
Union404675
Neshoba4001176
Lincoln3883109
Hancock373385
Leflore3470124
Sunflower330789
Tate325082
Pike3205105
Scott311272
Yazoo304769
Alcorn298865
Itawamba297477
Copiah293965
Coahoma290378
Simpson289486
Tippah285168
Prentiss276559
Marion266279
Leake261473
Wayne261441
Grenada256284
Covington254980
Adams246882
Newton245561
George238347
Winston226081
Tishomingo222467
Jasper219948
Attala213573
Chickasaw205257
Holmes186972
Clay183054
Stone179531
Clarke177576
Tallahatchie175940
Calhoun165231
Yalobusha159736
Smith159234
Walthall131043
Greene129633
Lawrence126623
Noxubee126533
Montgomery125742
Perry125238
Carroll120926
Amite120741
Webster113732
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica103025
Claiborne101330
Benton97425
Kemper95628
Humphreys94432
Franklin82723
Quitman78916
Choctaw73717
Wilkinson64928
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49817
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 521201

Reported Deaths: 10736
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753981490
Mobile39011799
Madison34002496
Tuscaloosa25329444
Montgomery23996567
Shelby23160239
Baldwin20674302
Lee15567165
Calhoun14330311
Morgan14152271
Etowah13677346
Marshall11988220
Houston10402278
Elmore10008200
Limestone9843147
Cullman9501189
St. Clair9449234
Lauderdale9254228
DeKalb8756181
Talladega8104171
Walker7126275
Jackson6751110
Autauga6748103
Blount6511134
Colbert6225130
Coffee5418113
Dale4771111
Russell429338
Franklin420582
Chilton4100109
Covington4059114
Tallapoosa3904146
Escambia389574
Dallas3522149
Chambers3513122
Clarke346760
Marion3072100
Pike306176
Lawrence295395
Winston273072
Bibb256059
Marengo248261
Geneva245975
Pickens233059
Barbour226255
Hale218675
Butler212867
Fayette209460
Henry188044
Cherokee182544
Randolph177041
Monroe172440
Washington164738
Macon155548
Clay150055
Crenshaw149457
Cleburne146341
Lamar139634
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124527
Bullock121540
Conecuh109428
Perry107626
Sumter103232
Coosa99428
Greene91334
Choctaw58724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 64°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 63°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 59°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 61°
Expect mostly cloudy skies on your Friday with a few spotty showers moving through the area, especially into the late-afternoon and evening. Some will likely stick around into Saturday morning. Temperatures remain cooler than average.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather