Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) announced his resignation Tuesday amid a political firestorm in his state.
“Today, I am announcing that I will resign as governor of Missouri effective Friday, June 1st, at 5 p.m.,” Greitens said from his office during a hastily-arranged news conference. He took no questions.
“This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family,” he added. “Millions of dollars of mounting legal bills; endless personal attacks designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends; legal harassment of colleagues, friends, and campaign workers; and it’s clear for the forces that oppose us, there’s no end in sight.”
Greitens maintained that he had “not broken any laws, nor committed any offense worthy of this treatment.”
“The time has come, though, to tend to those who have been wounded, and to care for those who need us most,” he said, his voice breaking. “So for the moment, let us walk off the battlefield with our heads held high.”
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, whose office is handling one of two felony charges against the governor, said in a statement shortly after Greitens’ announcement that her office and his defense team “have reached a fair and just resolution of the pending charges,” and that she would “provide more information tomorrow.”
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said of her investigation into the other charge, which Gardner dropped last month and which Baker is now reviewing as a special prosecutor: “In the interest of pursing justice to its fullest lengths, we will continue until our work on the case is completed.”
“Specifically regarding any deals we made with Governor Greitens’ attorneys, no deals were made by my office,” Baker added. “Our review of this case, as I have stated before, will be pursued without fear or favor.”
In February, a grand jury indicted the governor for invasion of privacy over accusations that he’d taken a nude photo of a woman with whom he was having an affair and used it to blackmail her.
A Missouri House committee reported in April that Greitens held the woman down in a “bear hug” during the March 2015 encounter before pulling out his penis, among other allegations. The woman testified anonymously that she performed oral sex on him because she thought “that would allow me to leave” and she feared for her “physical self.”
Greitens faced his second felony charge in April for allegedly obtaining a donor list from a charity he founded to use for political fundraising.
Earlier this month, Gardner suddenly dropped the invasion of privacy charge and asked that a special prosecutor be appointed in the case, given that the governor’s legal team planned to call Gardner herself as a witness.
Baker was named special prosecutor last week. She said she would review the case and decide whether or not to refile the invasion of privacy charge.
Greitens also faced possible impeachment: the Missouri legislature opened an historic special session to consider the question on May 18.
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens resigns: “This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family” https://t.co/mYNFhq9dgt https://t.co/c4GefU9Jqh
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 29, 2018
This post has been updated.