Missouri state senators on Thursday called for an investigation amid allegations that Gov. Eric Greitens (R) threatened to blackmail a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair. Some took it further and called for Greitens to resign.
State Sen. Doug Libla (R) in a letter to Missouri attorney general Josh Hawley (R) asked him to examine allegations that Greitens threatened to blackmail a woman he was sexually involved with in 2015 with a naked photo he took during one of their sexual encounters, according to the Kansas City Star.
State Sen. Gary Romine (R) told the Kansas City Star that any investigation needs “to move as quickly as possible.”
“The only way we can remove this cloud is to get all the facts,” Romine said. “If it exonerates him, we can move on. If it doesn’t, he needs to resign or face impeachment.”
Other Republicans were more equivocal in their remarks. State Sen. Mike Cierpiot (R) said his thoughts “remain private” because “there’s just not enough information.”
State Rep. Bryan Spencer (R) said it was “too early” and “we don’t know the facts.”
“All we hear is what’s in the news,” Spencer told the Kansas City Star. “In today’s society we can destroy a people with just accusations.”
Republican state Sens. Ron Richard, Mike Kehoe and Bob Onder in a joint statement said they “find these serious allegations shocking and concerning.”
“As this situation is evolving, we expect the governor to be honest and forthright,” they said.
State Democratic officials took a much stronger position on the allegations against Greitens.
State Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh (D) and Sen. Kiki Curls (D) said in a statement that “people accused of these egregious acts do not get to wave off the scrutiny of law enforcement simply because they are in a position of power; and victims of these crimes deserve our full support.”
State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D) called on Greitens to “resign immediately.”
State Rep. Mark Ellebracht (D) called for a criminal investigation into the allegations against Greitens, who admitted to the affair but denied the blackmail threats.
“Infidelity is unfortunate, but it is not illegal,” Ellebracht said, according to the report. “Blackmail is illegal. Potential allegations of sexual assault are illegal. It is not fair for the governor to hide behind his family and use them as a shield for what should be a criminal investigation.”
Another state Democratic member, Rep. Jerome Barnes, said Greitens should resign regardless of the findings of any investigation: “He’s a Navy SEAL. We have high standards to be a Navy SEAL. There should be high standards to be a governor also.”
Read Libla’s letter to Hawley:
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