Missouri governor accused of assaulting his former mistress

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April 11, 2018 - 11:00 PM

Missouri Governor Erc Greitens KCUR.ORG

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens calls it an “entirely consensual relationship.” But the woman with whom he has acknowledged having an affair says Greitens spanked, slapped, grabbed and shoved her during a series of sexual encounters that at times left her crying and afraid.

The woman’s graphic testimony was revealed in a report released Wednesday by a special Missouri legislative committee that now is expanding its mission to recommend whether lawmakers should begin impeachment proceedings to try to remove the Republican governor from office.

Some prominent politicians — including Republican state Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, whom Hawley is challenging — are calling on Greitens to immediately resign.

But Greitens is vowing to to remain in office and prove his innocence against mounting allegations that he denounced as “lies and falsehoods.”

Greitens, 44, is to go to trial May 14 in St. Louis on a felony indictment of invasion of privacy for allegedly taking and transmitting a nonconsensual photo of the woman while she was partially nude. Separately, the special House committee is to recommend after the legislative session ends May 18 whether to pursue impeachment. Legislative leaders said they will call themselves into a special session.

The legislative report was signed by all five Republicans and two Democrats on the committee. It describes the woman’s testimony as credible and notes that Greitens has so far declined to testify or provide documents to the panel.

The woman told the committee Greitens took a photo of her after manipulating her into a compromising position during an unwanted sexual encounter in his home and told her “everyone will know what a little whore you are” if she told anyone about him.

Greitens has refused to directly answer media questions about whether he took the photo, but he has steadfastly denied any criminal wrongdoing.

“This is a political witch hunt,” Greitens told reporters Wednesday, invoking one of President Donald Trump’s favored criticisms of unwanted investigations. He later added: “This is exactly like what’s happening with the witch hunts in Washington3, D.C.”

Republican House Speaker Todd Richardson called the woman’s testimony “beyond disturbing” and defended the integrity of the investigation. He said: “Let me be very clear about this: This is not a witch hunt, and the committee had no political agenda.”

If the House were to impeach Greitens, the Senate then would choose seven jurists to conduct a trial on whether Greitens should be ousted. The impeachment process can occur independently of a criminal case.

ACCORDING to the report, the woman testified that she met Greitens in 2013 as a customer of her hair salon. She said she had a crush on Greitens but was shocked when he ran his hand up her leg and touched her crotch without her consent during a March 2015 hair appointment. He later invited her to his St. Louis home while his wife was out of town.

After she arrived through the back door, the report said that the woman testified Greitens searched her purse and “patted her down from head-to-toe.” He then asked if she had exercised and had her change into a white T-shirt with a slit on the top and pajama pants.

“I thought, oh, this is going to be some sort of sexy workout,” the woman testified.

But once in his basement, Greitens taped her hands to pull-up rings, blindfolded her, started kissing her, ripped open the shirt and pulled down her pants, the woman testified. She didn’t give consent to be disrobed or kissed, the report said. The woman testified that she then heard a click, like of a cellphone picture, and saw a flash.

The woman testified that Greitens told her: “Don’t even mention my name to anybody at all, because if you do, I’m going to take these pictures, and I’m going to put them everywhere I can. They are going to be everywhere, and then everyone will know what a little whore you are.”

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