The same day the Missouri House launched an investigation into indicted Gov. Eric Greitens (R), St. Louis prosecutors suggested that he may face additional charges.
The seven-person House panel formally convened on Monday is composed of five Republicans and two Democrats and will look only at the allegations in the indictment filed by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. Greitens was charged with felony invasion of privacy Thursday for taking a photograph of a partly nude woman he was sleeping with and threatening to leak it if she went public about their extramarital relationship. The alleged incident occurred before he was elected governor.
“Our focus is going to be on the underlying facts of the indictment and the circumstances surrounding them,” Rep. Jay Barnes (R), chair of the committee, said in a press conference, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
But in an undocketed court hearing the same afternoon, lawyers for the city and for the governor got into a contentious exchange over the hearing date and the possibility that Greitens may face additional charges unrelated to the alleged March 2015 blackmail incident.
As the Post Dispatch reported, Gardner and her first assistant, Robert Steele, said that their investigation was ongoing and could touch on matters unrelated to the invasion of privacy charge. They did not specify what those could be, but said prosecutors were forced to indict Greitens last week because the three-year statute of limitations was due to run out.
Greitens’ attorneys countered that prosecutors were trying to drag out the embarrassing public investigation and that they want a quick jury trial to begin by the end of April at the latest, per the newspaper.
Greitens’ team previously filed a motion to dismiss the case, saying the statute applied to peeping toms rather than adults engaging in a consensual sexual encounter. In an audio recording secretly made by her then-husband, the woman said she did not consent to being photographed nude by Greitens.
The governor seems intent on ignoring the political storm as the House and city probes continue. Greitens released a statement last week calling the indictment a “misguided political decision” initiated by a “reckless liberal prosecutor.” On Monday, he visited with families whose houses were destroyed in a tornado over the weekend.
At the Missouri Capitol, over a dozen Republicans have called for Greitens to step down in the wake of his indictment, saying the investigations were a huge distraction from their legislative work. Others say they want to reserve judgment until the probes are complete.