White House responds to Greitens investigation - KMOV.com

White House responds to Greitens investigation

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Missouri Governor Eric Greitens seen in a mugshot on February 22, 2018. (Credit: St. Louis Police Department) Missouri Governor Eric Greitens seen in a mugshot on February 22, 2018. (Credit: St. Louis Police Department)
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens takes a reporters question as he unveils the new state budget during a press conference at the State Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri on January 22, 2018.  Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI Missouri Governor Eric Greitens takes a reporters question as he unveils the new state budget during a press conference at the State Capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri on January 22, 2018. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- During a press briefing Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she had not spoken to President Donald Trump directly about Missouri Governor Eric Greitens' indictment, but believes Trump would leave any decisions up to the State of Missouri. 

When asked if Trump thought Greitens should resign, Sanders said, "“I haven't spoken with him about that. But my guess is he would refer to the people of the State of Missouri."

When pressed, Sanders reiterated that she had not spoken to the president about the matter and would update the media if he made any formal statements. 

Greitens was indicted Thursday on one felony count of invasion of privacy.

The charge says Greitens knowingly took a photograph of a woman in a "state of full or partial nudity without the knowledge and consent" of that woman. The charge goes on to say the photograph was taken "in a place where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the defendant subsequently transmitted the image contained in the photograph in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer."

Invasion of Privacy in the 1st Degree is a Class D Felony in Missouri. 

"Under Missouri law, the Grand Jury has found probable cause to believe that Governor Greitens violated Missouri State Statute 565.252, which was in place at the time of the violation," Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said in a statement. "This statute has a provision for both a felony and misdemeanor. 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."

A judge said Greitens could be released on his own personal recognizance and is allowed to travel, according to Susan Ryan, a spokeswoman for the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office.

Read: Blackmail alleged as Governor Greitens admits to extramarital

Thursday night, Greitens released the following statement:

As I have said before, I made a personal mistake before I was Governor. I did not commit a crime.

With today’s disappointing and misguided political decision, my confidence in our prosecutorial system is shaken, but not broken. I know this will be righted soon.

The people of Missouri deserve better than a reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points.

I look forward to the legal remedies to reverse this action.

This will not for a moment deter me from doing the important work of the great people of Missouri.

In an emailed comment, an attorney for Greitens, Edward Dowd, Jr. said, "in forty years of public and private practice, I have never seen anything like this. The charges against my client are baseless and unfounded. My client is absolutely innocent. We will be filing a motion to dismiss.”

He later released a statement:

“We welcome reviewing this issue with the independent, bipartisan committee of the Missouri House of Representatives.

For 40 years as an attorney for the public and for private litigants, I have never seen anything like this. The charges are unfounded and baseless. The Governor is absolutely innocent. Not only is he presumed innocent – he is innocent. This whole investigation is completely unusual.

This statute has never been used like this in Missouri history. In unprecedented fashion, the Circuit Attorney circumvented the local police force and hired her own investigators - we attempted to meet with the Circuit Attorney and make the Governor available to discuss the issues. They refused. She proceeded to file an indictment that has no facts.

We will work with the committee. We will be deposing witnesses and will be happy to share information with you with the Court’s permission.”

“Lady justice can sometimes operate in cumbersome ways," attorney Al Wakins told CNN. Watkins represents the woman's ex-husband. "But right now we have an individual charged with a felony and in our great land, one must presume innocence until guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s best to let the system take its course.”

In January, following a News 4 report, the Circuit Attorney announced she would be launching a criminal investigation into allegations against the governor. 

Greitens admitted in January to having an affair with a hairdresser. In a recording obtained by News 4, the woman said she had a sexual encounter with Greitens and that he tried to blackmail her with an image to keep the encounter quiet. Greitens has repeatedly denied the blackmail allegations. He has also repeatedly declined to answer direct questions about whether or not he took a photo of the woman.

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Investigators working with the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office reached out to a number of lawmakers in Jefferson City in the on-going investigation into allegations against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, News 4 reported last week. State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal confirmed to News 4 her office was contacted by two investigators, Jack Foley and William Tisaby. State Representative Nate Walker also told News 4 that he had been contacted by the two men.

News 4 has learned Greitens will not be attending the upcoming meeting of the National Governor's Association.

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