Missouri governor who vowed to fight scandal instead quits
- Author: Megan Austin Jun 02, 2018,
Jun 02, 2018, 10:47
The Republican lieutenant governor is to take over as governor when Greitens' resignation becomes official at 5 p.m. Friday.
"This ordeal has been created to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family - millions of dollars of mounting legal bills, endless personal attacks created to cause maximum damage to family and friends", he said in a brief statement from his Jefferson City office, his voice breaking at times. He did not take questions from journalists.
When he steps down Friday, the former Navy SEAL officer will be conceding political defeat amid allegations of sexual misconduct and campaign violations while still defiantly asserting that he's done nothing worthy of being forced out of office.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner spoke to reporters about the deal but declined to comment on an ongoing investigation against Greitens involving possible felony invasion of privacy in connection with an admitted extramarital affair in 2015 with a hairdresser before he was elected.
Second, Greitens had denied claims raised by Hawley that Greitens allegedly oversaw the theft of donor data from The Mission Continues, a pro-veterans charity Greitens founded prior to public service.
On Wednesday, Gardner disputed Greitens' past statements that she had been engaged in a politically motivated witch hunt against him.
Greitens had refused to leave even facing the prospect of becoming the first governor in Missouri's history to be impeached.
A former Greitens campaign adviser also told a state House investigative committee that the campaign had considered soliciting donations from foreign nationals, according to the newspaper.
Even though he's quitting amid scandal, some Greitens voters said they still like him.
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"In the interest of pursuing justice to its fullest lengths, we will continue until our work on the case is completed", Baker said in a statement.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who called for Greitens to resign on multiple occasions, said he did the right thing on Tuesday.
"It is time for us to move on and help the state of Missouri move back to the business of governing", she said in a mid-morning press conference.
Had the governor been convicted, she said, it was unlikely that he would be sentenced to prison, given the type of charge he faced and the fact that he would be a first-time offender. The probe came after media reports suggested Greiten's campaign had obtained and used a charity donor list in 2015 as it ramped up fundraising for his gubernatorial bid.
"I believe the most fair and just way to resolve the situation, is to dismiss the computer tampering case", Gardner said.
It also happened on the same day a judge ordered Greitens to turn over information related to campaign payments he received from a group named A New Missouri.
"Let there be no doubt, I condemn Eric Greitens' behavior".
The governor was indicted in February with invasion of privacy, but the charge was dropped this month, with the proviso that it could be re-filed.