Greitens apologizes for affair, says many assertions made 'have not been truthful'

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens, right, and his wife Sheena speak to the media as a member of their protection detail stands off to the side Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, in St. Louis.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS ( -- St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced Thursday her office would launch a formal investigation into the allegations of blackmail made against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.

In a statement, Gardner wrote:“The serious allegations against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens are very troubling. After further consideration, I have decided to launch a formal investigation into the alleged actions of Governor Greitens.

It is essential for residents of the City of St. Louis and our state to have confidence in their leaders. They must know that the Office of the Circuit Attorney will hold public officials accountable in the same manner as any other resident of our city. Both parties and the people of St. Louis deserve a thorough investigation of these allegations.

If anyone has any information related to this matter, I encourage them to contact my office immediately.”In a recording obtained by News 4, a woman says she had a sexual encounter with Greitens and he tried to blackmail her to keep the encounter quiet.

The details were provided to News 4 by the woman’s ex-husband, claiming the sexual relationship happened between his now ex-wife and Greitens in March 2015. News 4 is not naming the woman and she has not made an on-the-record comment about the story.

According to the ex-husband, the recording was made just days after Greitens and the woman had their first sexual encounter. Greitens allegedly took a photograph during the encounter to use as “blackmail” according to the ex-husband.

Earlier Thursday, Greitens' attorney James Bennett released a statement refuting the blackmail allegations and calling the ongoing story a "political hit piece.""We have been asked repeatedly by reputable news outlets why we believe this nearly three-year-old news story is coming out now. The latest reporting has finally disclosed that the reporting was being driven by a "source" who is the former Democrat state party chairman and who apparently has not spoken to the person in question. This goes a long way to explaining what is going on - this is a political hit piece.

This is and remains an almost three-year-old private matter with no matter of public interest at stake. Eric and Sheena have worked through those issues long ago and I think that Sheena put it best: 'We have a loving marriage and an awesome family; anything beyond that is between us and God. I want the media and those who wish to peddle gossip to stay away from me and my children.' Now we know who has been peddling that gossip."Following the announcement of Gardner's intent to investigate the allegations, Bennett released another statement asserting his confidence the Governor will be cleared. The Governor is very confident he will be cleared in any investigation. This is a three-year-old personal matter that presents no matters of public or legal interest. The facts will prove that fully. As we learned today, these false allegations are being advanced by political adversaries. For more information, click here: READ: Blackmail alleged as Governor Greitens admits to extramarital affair

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