In her first press interview since news broke in January of her affair with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), the woman at the heart of the scandal said she never wanted to go public.
“I didn’t want this,” the woman told local Missouri station KSDK in an interview published Monday. “I wasn’t out to get anyone. I really was just trying to live my life.”
It was only when her ex-husband released a secret recording in which she said Greitens tried to blackmail her with a semi-nude photo during their 2015 affair, prompting prosecutors to press charges against the governor, that she felt compelled to cooperate with the investigation.
“The second [Greitens] denied the things that were the most hurtful, the most difficult for me to now have to relive, I just realized now I have this decision,” the woman told KSDK. “The only ethical thing I felt I could do was tell the truth.”
The woman planned to testify in Greitens’ felony invasion-of-privacy case until St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner abruptly dropped the charge last week, after she was called by the defense to testify about possible missteps by her investigators. The judge has barred Gardner from any further involvement in the case. It has been turned over to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, who will review the evidence and decide whether to refile charges against Greitens.
Baker is a seasoned, respected prosecutor who has worked on a number of sex abuse and domestic violence cases.
The woman has already testified before a special Missouri House committee investigating a host of allegations against the governor. In her vivid account, she said Greitens tied her up in his basement and photographed her semi-nude without consent, pressured her into sex acts, and slapped her on multiple occasions.
Greitens has admitted to the affair but rejected any claims of criminal wrongdoing.
In a statement to KSDK, a spokesperson for the governor said, “This case was dismissed because there was no evidence to support the allegations. Everyone involved has said they desire to move on.”
The woman, who wants to stay anonymous, also said she stood by everything she has told investigators about her relationships with Greitens.
Asked by KSDK if the governor coerced her into sex, she said, “Ultimately yes. Looking back, it’s so hard. I see myself as so vulnerable.”
The woman said she felt “used” by the governor’s lawyers, by her ex-husband, and by the people who gave $100,000 to help pay for her ex-husband’s legal bills. No money and no political operative’s pressure went into her decision to come forward, she said.
The woman requested that the station not use her real name because she wants to protect the anonymity of her young children. The only previous time she spoke to the press was a plea for privacy made in January when the scandal first broke.