Missouri governor declares he will remain in office despite scandal

April 11 (Reuters) - Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, charged with criminal invasion of privacy in connection with an admitted extramarital affair, declared on Wednesday that he intended to stay in office while fighting to clear his name in court.

At a news conference in Jefferson City, the Missouri capital, Greitens, 44, a Republican, said he was the victim of a "political witch hunt" stemming from a "private mistake" that had nothing to do with his job as governor.

The comments came less than an hour before a special committee of the Republican-controlled Missouri House of Representatives was set to release a report on its own investigation of the scandal.

Greitens, a former U.S. Navy SEAL who was elected in 2016, has been under pressure from politicians in both parties to step down since he was indicted, but the governor said he had no intention of resigning.

"I will continue to serve the people of Missouri as their governor and to work for you every day," he said.

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri
See Gallery
Republican Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri
Vice President Mike Pence and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens walk through the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in University City, Mo., on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, after viewing some of the damage done last weekend when more than 150 headstones were overturned. (J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
Eric Greitens kisses his wife, Sheena, before giving his victory speech after winning the Missouri governor's race on November 8, 2016, at his election watch party at the Double Tree Hotel in Chesterfield, Mo. Greitens has admitted he had an extramarital affair in 2015. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 07: Eric Greitens Founder and CEO, The Mission Continues speaks at the Robin Hood Veterans Summit at Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum on May 7, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for The Robin Hood Foundation)
Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens and wife Sheena hold their children, Jacob (left) and Joshua, while addressing the media after casting their vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 at the St. Louis Public Library Schlafly branch in St. Louis, Mo. (Cristina M. Fletes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
TODAY -- Pictured: (l-r) Former Deputy Commissioner for Counter Terrorism of the NYPD Michael Sheehan and Navy SEALs Lieutenant Commander Eric Greitens appear on NBC News' TODAY show (Photo by Heidi Gutman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
UNIVERSITY CITY, MO - FEBRUARY 22: Anita Feigenbaum, executive director at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery speaks to the crowd on February 22, 2017 in University City, Missouri. Governor Eric Greitens (R) and US Vice President Mike Pence (L) were on hand to speak to over 300 volunteers who helped cleanup after the recent vandalism. Since the beginning of the year, there has been a nationwide spike in incidents including bomb threats at Jewish community centers and reports of anti-semitic graffiti. (Photo: Michael Thomas/ Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Author and Navy Seal Eric Greitens attends the 2013 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images)
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - NOVEMBER 09: (L-R) Chris Marvis, Greg Grunberg, Eric Greitens and Christopher Gorham attend Got Your 6 and The Mission Continues Service Project Event at The Globe Theater inside Universal Studios Hollywood on November 9, 2012 in Universal City, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)
Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens makes his ballot selections on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 at the St. Louis Public Library Schlafly branch in St. Louis, Mo. (Cristina M. Fletes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Author and Navy Seal Eric Greitens attends the 2013 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - NOVEMBER 03: (L-R) E.A. 'Buddy' Grantham, Director of the Office of Veterans Affairs for City of Houston, Erika Putinski, Home Depot, Eric Greitens, The Mission Continues and Frederick Wellman of ScoutComms at The Home Depot Foundation & The Mission Continues Partner to repair and rennovate American Legion Post #416 on November 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 26: Eric Greitens and guest attend GQ's Gentlemen's Ball Presented By Gentleman Jack, Land Rover, Movado, and Nautica at The Edison Ballroom on October 26, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for GQ)

Greitens was indicted in February on a single felony count of invasion of privacy, accused of taking a compromising photograph of a woman without her consent, then making it accessible by computer for the purpose of preventing her from disclosing their sexual relationship.

The alleged offense occurred in March 2015, before he was elected.

Greitens has admitted to having an affair with the woman, identified in the indictment only as K.S., but has denied trying to blackmail her into covering it up or doing anything that was criminal.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison on Tuesday imposed a gag order on attorneys, witnesses and other parties to the criminal case.

The judge said his gag order would not preclude the parties from making statements about the general nature of the case, schedules or the substance of court rulings that he had entered into the public record.

Burlison indicated that he had no power over state legislators, who "have their jobs and their authority," but hoped "consideration is being given to any ... defendant's rights to have a fair trial in front of an impartial jury," according to a transcript released by the defense.

Politicians, lawmakers accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct

Politicians, lawmakers accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct
See Gallery
Politicians, lawmakers accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct

Several women have come forward accusing President Donald Trump of unwanted touching or kissing. Trump has called the sexual harassment claims 'fake news.'

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

U.S. Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh was accused by numerous women of sexual assault, including Dr. Christine Blasey Ford who claimed he assaulted her when the two were high school students in Maryland.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Bill Clinton faced numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct while he was president of the United States, with accusers including Juanita Broaddrick, who accused him of rape, Kathleen Willey who said he groped her and Paula Jones who said he exposed himself to her without consent.

(Photo by Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Roy Moore faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underaged girls.

(Carlo Allegri / Reuters)

Several women have accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping them during photo ops.

(REUTERS/Donna Carson)

Sen. Al Franken resigned after he was accused of kissing and groping a woman without her consent during a United Service Organizations (USO) tour in 2006.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A woman testified that her extra-martial affair with Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was not always consensual. The accuser claimed Greitens took a nude photo of her to use as blackmail and coerced her into having oral sex.

(St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept./Handout via REUTERS)

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was accused in May 2018 of physically abusing four women who he had been romantically involved with, according to The New Yorker.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A former aide of Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., says she was fired after she refused his advances.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, resigned after he was accused of asking former female staffers to be surrogate mothers for his child. 

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., was accused of making unwanted sexual advances to multiple women.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, was accused of using taxpayer money for a sexual harassment settlement with his former communications director, according to Politico. He announced in December that he wouldn't be seeking reelection. 

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has been accused of unwanted sexual advances by former staffers.

(SAUL LOEB via Getty Images)

California Assemblymember Matt Dababneh was accused of masturbating in front of a woman in 2016, according to the Los Angeles Times.

(Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)

In 1992 multiple women came forward against Senator Brock Adams accusing him of sexually harassing, molesting or assaulting them.

(Photo by Gary Payne/Liaison)

The Congressional Office of Compliance reportedly shelled out $100,000 to settle sexual harassment claims against U.S. Rep. Eric Massa, D-New York.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Congressman Mark Foley, R-Florida, resigned in 2006 amid reports that he sent sexually explicit messages to at least one underage male former page. 

(Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)

Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., called a young former aide his 'soul mate,' but denied sexually harassing her.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Kentucky, was facing sexual assault accusations and reportedly committed suicide.

(Kentucky Legislative Research Commission via REUTERS)

Former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner was sentenced in 2017 after pleading guilty to one count of sending obscene messages to a minor, ending an investigation into a "sexting" scandal that played a role in the 2016 US presidential election.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Former U.S. Rep. David Wu, D-Oregon, resigned from his position in 2011 after accusations of an 'unwanted sexual encounter' from the 18-year-old daughter of a donor.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain dropped out of the race in December 2011 amid accusations of sexual misconduct.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison in 2016 for attempting to skirt banking regulations in order to conceal hush money payments intended to cover up sex abuse allegations stemming from the time he was a high school wrestling coach at a far west suburban Chicago high school decades ago.

(REUTERS/Frank Polich)


(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.