Washington, Feb 23 (IANS) Governor Eric Greitens of the US state of Missouri has been indicted amid looming allegations of sexual misconduct and blackmail following an admission of an affair last month.
The Republican was charged in St. Louis on Thursday with a first-degree felony invasion of privacy, according to the Missouri court system.
The chargesheet alleged that Greitens took a picture of the woman in “full or partial nudity” without her knowledge or consent. It further alleged that he transmitted the image “in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer”.
In a statement, Greitens denied committing any crime and instead called the situation “a personal mistake” from his time prior to taking office, CNN reported.
“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,” he said.
Missouri’s KMOV TV station published a report in January where a man said his now-former wife had an affair with Greitens in 2015.
The report included details of a recording of a woman saying Greitens had tried to blackmail her to keep quiet about their sexual encounter.
Greitens denied he resorted to blackmail, but admitted to an affair, and the circuit attorney for St. Louis, Kimberly M. Gardner, said they had launched a formal investigation, reports CNN.
Following the indictment, the Governor will no longer travel to Washington D.C., to participate in Republican Governors Association events on Friday.
Greitens, a former Navy SEAL and Rhodes scholar who has been Governor for just over a year, has resisted calls to resign, insisting that he did nothing illegal.