ST. LOUIS (CN) – Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was indicted by a St. Louis grand jury on a felony invasion of privacy charge based on claims that he blackmailed a former mistress during an affair he admitted to.
The indictment was handed down Wednesday but made public Thursday afternoon. Officials confirmed that Greitens was taken into custody and booked at the St. Louis Justice Center. He was released on his own recognizance.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner’s office had been investigating whether Greitens tried to blackmail his former mistress by taking compromising pictures of her.
The mistress’ former husband made the allegations public in January, claiming Greitens took a photograph of the bound and partially nude woman and threatened to publicize it if she exposed the affair. Greitens has admitted to the affair, but denied the blackmail allegations.
Gardner issued a written statement that said a grand jury found probable cause to believe Greitens violated a Missouri statute that makes it a felony if a person transmits the image contained in the photograph or film in a manner that allows access to that image via a computer.
Greitens’ attorney Edward Dowd, in a statement to local Fox affiliate KTVI, said the governor will be filing a motion to dismiss.
“In forty years of public and private practice, I have never seen anything like this,” Dowd said. “The charges against my client are baseless and unfounded. My client is absolutely innocent.”
The indictment alleges Greitens “transmitted the image contained in the photograph in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer.”
“This statute has a provision for both a felony and a misdemeanor,” Gardner said in a statement. “The law makes it a felony if a person transmits the image contained in the photograph or film in a manner that allows access to that image via a computer.”
Reactions from both sides of the aisle in Missouri’s capital of Jefferson City came quickly.
State Senator Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, told KTVI that she was going to write a letter to the Speaker of the House to begin impeachment proceedings.
Senator Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, a frequent critic of the governor, tweeted, “…he’s done. #moleg”