Republican state legislative leaders in Missouri on Tuesday night called for Gov. Eric Greitens (R) to resign amid mounting legal troubles that have brought embarrassment and national news attention to the Show-Me State.
“When leaders lose the ability to effectively lead our state, the right thing to do is step aside,” House Speaker Todd Richardson, House Majority Leader Rob Vescovo and House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr said in a joint statement to local media. “In our view, the time has come for the governor to resign.”
Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard said in his own statement that it is his “wish that we immediately start impeachment proceedings” if Greitens declines to step down.
But the governor is refusing to relent.
“In three weeks, this matter will go to a court of law — where it belongs and where the facts will prove my innocence,” Greitens said in a statement of his own. “Until then, I will do what the people of Missouri sent me here to do: to serve them and work hard on their behalf.”
The legislative leaders’ push came hours after Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican, announced that he had discovered and turned over to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner evidence that Greitens may have committed a felony in connection with using the veterans’ charity he founded to raise money for his campaign for governor.
A grand jury convened by Gardner in February had indicted Greitens on a separate felony charge for allegedly taking a nonconsensual nude photo of a woman with whom he was having an affair, and threatening to share it.
And the Missouri House last week released a report based on its investigation of those allegations, including testimony in which the woman claims Greitens hit her, threatened to blackmail her, and coerced her to engage in sexual acts while she wept.
Hawley and a number of Missouri lawmakers had already called for Greitens to step down as a result of his conduct with the woman.
Greitens has admitted to the affair but denied the allegations of blackmail, physical violence, and sexual coercion.