Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), who is a frontrunner in the GOP Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), is pushing back against allegations of domestic violence his ex-wife made in court records filed Monday.
In a sworn affidavit filed as part of an ongoing child custody dispute in Missouri state court, Sheena Greitens detailed allegations of physical abuse against her ex-husband and the Missouri Senate candidate — accusations that she described as “unstable and coercive behavior” that allegedly took place toward the end of their marriage.
Eric Greitens vehemently denied the allegations by his ex-wife.
Sheena Greitens alleged that prior to their divorce, Eric Greitens knocked her down and confiscated her cell phone, wallet and keys to prevent her from calling for help. She alleged it was part of an attempt to prevent her from removing herself and their children from the home the family shared in Missouri at the time. She claimed in the affidavit that her mother confronted Eric Greitens after the incident, and that the former governor allegedly explained that he wanted to prevent his then-wife from “doing anything that might damage his political career.”
Sheena Greitens alleged that his violent behavior extended to their children as well.
“This behavior included physical violence toward our children, such as cuffing our then three-year-old son across the face at the dinner table in front of me and yanking him around by the hair,” she wrote in the affidavit.
Additionally, Sheena Greitens alleged that Eric issued threats on at least three occasions in 2018, which included him allegedly repeatedly threatening “to kill himself unless I provided specific public political support to him.” She also claimed that several people intervened to limit Eric Greitens’ access to firearms because they were concerned about his safety.
Sheena Greitens further alleged that one of her children came home after visiting Eric Greitens in Nov. 2019 “with a swollen face, bleeding gums, and a loose tooth.”
“He said Dad had hit him; however, Eric said they were roughhousing and it had been an accident,” Sheena Greitens wrote in the affidavit, adding that her child’s tooth later had to be removed.
The allegations by Sheena Greitens, who currently resides in Austin and works as a tenured associate professor at the University of Texas, come as part of her request that the court move the custody case to Texas. She has argued that her ex-husband’s routine travels for fundraising and campaign purposes have made it financially difficult for her to maintain their co-parenting plan. She claimed their children live with her about 70 percent of the time.
Sheena and Eric Greitens announced they were getting divorced in the spring of 2020. Eric Greitens resigned as Missouri’s governor in 2018. Sheena Greitens has claimed their marriage collapsed following allegations that Eric Greitens engaged in blackmail after an alleged assault.
TPM reported in 2018 that the former governor allegedly slapped a woman he accused of blackmailing him after reportedly engaging in an extramarital affair with the woman. After the woman testified before the state legislative investigative committee detailing the sexual assault, Greitens resigned as governor in June 2018. Greitens eventually reached a deal with the St. Louis prosecutor’s office, which required Greitens to step down as governor if the state dropped unrelated campaign finance charges against him.
The charges against Greitens were eventually dropped. The former Missouri governor has denied the allegations against him and has repeatedly argued that they were politically motivated.
In her affidavit, Sheena Greitens alleged that her ex-husband has “continued to publicly make false, untrue, and misleading claims” about the scandal that led to his resignation as governor.
Eric Greitens released a statement later Monday in response to his ex-wife’s allegations, which he described as “completely fabricated.”
He took on a more aggressive tone toward his ex-wife in a statement released by his Senate campaign, however. He described his former spouse as a “deranged individual” making a “sad attempt” to take custody away from him.
Greitens has been seeking an endorsement from former President Trump in a crowded GOP primary to succeed Blunt. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), an ardent pusher of Trump’s election falsehoods, swiftly knocked Greitens after news broke of his ex-wife’s allegations. (It’s convenient timing for Hawley as he lobs a targeted campaign against Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, raising baseless and debunked allegations that the judge was previously soft on child sex offender defendants.)
Read the affidavit below: