Report: FBI Has Opened Inquiry Into Missouri Governor Accused Of Blackmail

January 20, 2018 10:49 a.m.

The FBI recently opened an inquiry into Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), who is accused of blackmailing and slapping a woman with whom he had an affair, CNN reported Friday.

Two U.S. officials confirmed to the network that the inquiry was initiated, but did not provide information on its scope or the date it began.

The St. Louis office of the FBI has declined to comment on the existence of any probe into Greitens. The St. Louis circuit attorney’s office announced last week that it was investigating the actions of the governor, who has admitted to having an affair but stridently denied allegations of blackmail and physical violence.

Greitens’ personal lawyer, Jim Bennett, has maintained that neither he nor the governor have been contacted by the FBI. On Friday, Bennett told CNN that he didn’t believe the bureau was interested in “this personal matter that took place years ago” or other conduct by the governor unrelated to the affair.

Eli Karabell, a 22-year-old who said he volunteered with Greitens’ transition team in December 2016, contacted the network to say he was interviewed by two FBI agents in an hour-long November 2017 conversation.

Karabell has retained Missouri attorney Al Watkins, who is also representing the ex-husband of the woman who carried out an affair with Greitens.

Watkins previously told TPM that he has personally been “receiving ongoing consistent contact” from an FBI special agent, beginning in October 2016.

It’s unclear if the interviews with Watkins and Karabell are part of the same inquiry that the two US officials confirmed to CNN.

The governor has kept his head down this week as a handful of Republican state lawmakers have called for his ouster and rumors that he would resign swirled through the State House. In lieu of making a planned statewide tour to tout his tax cut plan, he released a 300-word summary.

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