The Latest: Senators talk lieutenant governor vacancy law
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on allegations against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (all times local):
Missouri senators are considering changing how the lieutenant governor’s replacement is chosen amid calls for Republican Gov. Eric Greitens to leave office, which would put Lt. Gov. Mike Parson in charge.
Senators on Wednesday debated a proposal to require the governor to call a special election to fill a vacancy in the lieutenant governor’s office. No vote was taken.
The debate came after Greitens last week was indicted by a St. Louis grand jury on one felony count of invasion of privacy related to his 2015 extramarital affair. The House also has formed a committee to investigate.
Republican Sen. Bob Dixon says the governor now can’t appoint a replacement or call a special election to fill the lieutenant governor’s seat if it becomes vacant. So if Parson leaves office to become governor, the lieutenant governor’s seat would remain empty for the remainder of the term.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens now has a personal lobbyist at the Capitol as he faces a House investigation and criminal indictment.
Missouri Ethics Commission records show lobbyist Aaron Baker registered Wednesday to represent Greitens. Baker had registered last week to lobby on behalf of the Dowd Bennett law firm, which is defending Greitens against an invasion-of-privacy charge.
The St. Louis grand jury charge and the House investigation both stem from allegations that Greitens took a nonconsensual photo of a partially nude woman with whom he was having an affair in 2015. Greitens has declined to directly say whether he took the photo.
Baker is vice president of the political consulting firm Axiom Strategies.
Baker also registered Wednesday as a lobbyist for Joplin businessman David Humphreys, a major contributor to Greitens.
A St. Louis judge has set a May trial date over the objection of prosecutors in the felony invasion of privacy case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.
Greitens was indicted by a grand jury last week on one felony count of invasion of privacy. The indictment alleges that the Republican took a compromising photo of a woman without her consent while they had an affair in March 2015.
Prosecutors say they needed until November to prepare for trial because the criminal investigation had been rushed to beat a three-year statute of limitations.
Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Steele also sparred with Greitens’ attorney, Jim Bennett, over the existence of the photograph that spurred the charges. Bennett says prosecutors told him the photo didn’t exist, but Steele says he’d only told defense attorneys that prosecutors didn’t yet have the photo.
This story has been corrected to reflect that the Greitens attorney who said the photo didn’t exist was Jim Bennett, not Edward L. Dowd Jr.
Attorneys for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens are due back in court for a hearing on the felony indictment of the Republican governor.
A firm trial date could be set during the Wednesday hearing before St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison. The judge previously set a tentative trial date of May 14.
Greitens was indicted by a St. Louis grand jury last week on one felony count of invasion of privacy. The indictment alleges that Greitens took an unauthorized photo of a woman with whom he was having an affair during a sexual encounter in the basement of his home in March 2015.
Greitens has admitted to the affair but denies committing a crime. He says the investigation by the local prosecutor is politically motivated.