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.

Confirmed Cases: 15523

Reported Deaths: 734
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds100625
Lauderdale73862
Madison72423
Scott65012
Neshoba64639
Jones62928
Forrest56438
DeSoto5427
Rankin4398
Holmes42928
Leake42712
Copiah3124
Jackson30813
Attala29817
Yazoo2814
Newton2714
Leflore26431
Lincoln26329
Harrison2587
Monroe25725
Oktibbeha23912
Lamar2385
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Wayne2041
Pike20311
Adams19915
Noxubee1866
Washington1787
Warren17310
Covington1652
Jasper1634
Bolivar16211
Lee1536
Smith15211
Kemper14411
Clarke14418
Lafayette1364
Chickasaw13512
Coahoma1254
Carroll11711
Winston1171
Marion1159
Clay1124
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Tate941
Grenada943
Yalobusha935
Hancock9111
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Montgomery851
Sunflower843
Union835
Marshall833
Jefferson Davis773
Tippah7311
Panola713
Webster692
Calhoun654
Amite641
Humphreys607
Walthall560
Tunica553
Prentiss533
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Pontotoc353
Quitman330
Tishomingo320
Stone300
Franklin292
Tallahatchie271
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene131
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17952

Reported Deaths: 630
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2239116
Jefferson1837102
Montgomery171040
Tuscaloosa78315
Marshall6939
Franklin5567
Lee54833
Shelby51720
Tallapoosa42765
Butler41118
Chambers35525
Walker3542
Elmore3548
Madison3394
Baldwin2909
Morgan2801
Dallas2723
Etowah25711
DeKalb2483
Lowndes24612
Coffee2361
Sumter2247
Autauga2214
Houston2204
Bullock2095
Pike2030
Colbert1842
Hale1739
Russell1710
Marengo1706
Barbour1671
Lauderdale1642
Calhoun1603
Choctaw1538
Wilcox1487
Clarke1442
Cullman1430
Randolph1277
St. Clair1231
Marion12211
Pickens1164
Dale1150
Talladega1135
Limestone1060
Chilton1011
Greene944
Winston900
Macon824
Henry802
Covington801
Jackson782
Crenshaw753
Bibb751
Washington706
Escambia633
Blount621
Lawrence500
Geneva430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Monroe402
Perry390
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Unassigned00
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