Greitens, Wife Address Affair Allegations; Greitens' Attorney Blasts Other Allegations
Hours after giving his second State of the State speech Wednesday night, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens faced questions about an extramarital affair he allegedly had before running for governor.
Governor Greitens and his wife Sheena released a statement Wednesday night saying in part, "We have a loving marriage and an awesome family; anything beyond that is between us and God." Mrs. Greitens also asks "the media and those who wish to peddle gossip to stay away from me and my children."
In the statement, Greitens and his wife directly address the affair:
A few years ago, before Eric was elected Governor, there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage. This was a deeply personal mistake. Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately. While we never would have wished for this pain in our marriage, or the pain that this has caused others, with God’s mercy Sheena has forgiven and we have emerged stronger. We understand that there will be some people who cannot forgive – but for those who can find it in your heart, Eric asks for your forgiveness, and we are grateful for your love, your compassion, and your prayers.
The admission came after a report on St. Louis television station KMOV.
The now ex-husband of the woman he says had an affair with Greitens also claims that Greitens blackmailed her with a photo. The KMOV report also includes audio clips of a telephone call the ex-husband says he recorded with the woman without her knowledge.
In those recordings, she provides details about the alleged affair. She is also heard saying that Greitens told her that he deleted the alleged blackmail photo.
The woman has refused to make any comment on the story or any of the allegations.
In the KMOV report, the ex-husband's attorney, Al Watkins, claims that he was contacted by the FBI about the incidents.
Greitens' attorney, James Bennett, says the blackmail allegation and claims that Watkins and the ex-husband were contacted by law enforcement are wrong.
The station declined to provide the tape or transcript in advance of running their story, which contained multiple false allegations. The claim that this nearly three-year old story has generated or should generate law enforcement interest is completely false. There was no blackmail and that claim is false. This personal matter has been addressed by the Governor and Mrs. Greitens privately years ago when it happened. The outrageous claims of improper conduct regarding these almost three-year-ago events are false.
The report overshadowed Governor Greitens' State of the State speech, in which he promises tax cuts that he said would be "the boldest state tax reform in America."
Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed immediately called for Greitens to resign.
In a series of tweets, Nasheed says Greitens has called for an end to the "culture of corruption" and that it is time for him to "walk the walk," and that Greitens' resignation would "give Missouri the opportunity to restore some dignity to the governor's office."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.