Husband of woman who had affair with Greitens testifies
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The ex-husband of a woman who had an extramarital affair with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens testified for an hour and a half Friday before a House committee doing its own investigation into the indicted governor, the man’s lawyer said.
Attorney Al Watkins told the Associated Press that the man was asked to confirm that his ex-wife had described to him her interaction with Greitens, that he had recorded their conversation and hadn’t altered it before turning the recording over to investigators.
Missouri’s House speaker tasked the panel with investigating the governor following his recent indictment by a St. Louis grand jury on a felony invasion-of-privacy charge. The charge stems from allegations that he took a nonconsensual photo of the woman, who was at least partially nude, and transmitted the image in a way that could be accessed by a computer. Watkins said neither he nor the ex-husband have seen the photo.
Greitens has acknowledged the affair but denied criminal wrongdoing.
Watkins said the questions posed to his client by the committee indicated they were looking into whether any part of the interaction had been criminal.
The ex-husband has been a central figure in the controversy surrounding the Republican governor. He provided a recording to a St. Louis TV station of the unnamed woman saying that Greitens took a compromising photo of her and implied he would release it if she exposed the affair. She did not know her ex-husband was recording the conversation.
Watkins said the questions posed by the committee to the ex-husband made it clear that the woman had already testified.
“It is very clear that the committee is well versed in the underlying allegations such that one is left with the impression that they are not learning anything for the first time,” Watkins said.
Watkins’ description of the ex-husband’s testimony offered a rare glimpse of the House investigatory committee’s work. A committee finding critical of Greitens could lead to impeachment proceedings against him.
The panel’s latest meetings have been closed to the public at the Jefferson City police department, and Republican Chairman Rep. Jay Barnes, of Jefferson City, has said the goal is to protect the identity of those testifying.
“We respect very much the desire of the committee to be respectful of others who may want to keep things quiet,” Watkins told reporters during a news conference before the testimony, adding that “this is not something that should be shrouded in secrecy. Those who have been victimized should be supported to come forward, and not be fearful of reprisals.”
Meanwhile, Greitens took no questions from reporters Friday at a New Madrid County announcement of a new aluminum smelter.
His attorneys, in their latest effort to fight the felony charge against the governor, on Thursday filed a motion arguing that there’s reason to believe that prosecutors enticed reluctant witnesses to testify by offering leniency or warning of possible charges or adverse actions against the witnesses if they did not.
A spokeswoman for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the motion contained “baseless and false allegations.”
Salter reported from New Madrid. Julie Wright reported from Kansas City.