Judge rejects Missouri Governor Eric Greitens' bid to dismiss criminal case

ST. LOUIS, April 19 (Reuters) - A St. Louis judge on Thursday rejected a bid to dismiss a criminal invasion of privacy charge against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens stemming from a sex scandal involving an extramarital affair.

Judge Rex Burlison ruled against the Republican governor's legal team, which filed a motion last week accusing Kim Gardner, the Democratic circuit attorney for the city of St. Louis, of prosecutorial misconduct. The lawyers had argued that Gardner tried to conceal video evidence favorable to the governor and his assertions that the affair was entirely consensual.

Greitens was indicted in February on a single felony count of invasion of privacy, charging he took a photo of a woman in a state of undress without her consent and then made it accessible by computer to use as retaliation should she divulge their relationship.

The alleged offense occurred in March 2015, the year before Greitens, a married father of two and a former U.S. Navy SEAL commando, was elected governor. If convicted, he would face up to four years in prison.

Greitens has admitted to a months-long affair with the woman. But he has denied blackmailing her or other criminal wrongdoing. Instead, he has cast himself as the victim of a "political witch-hunt" for private transgressions that have nothing to do with his job as governor.

His lawyers have noted neither prosecutors nor anyone else has produced the photograph in question. The woman testified to a state House of Representatives committee that she believes it was taken while she was bound and blindfolded, and partially nude, in Greitens' basement. (Writing by Steve Gorman and Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Dan Grebler and Jonathan Oatis)

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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)
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