Local legislators question Governor's ability to lead

Friday, February 23, 2018

Officials do not call for resignation, but wary of indictment's effect

Local legislators are wary of Gov. Eric Greitens' ability to lead the state following an indictment handed down by a grand jury on Thursday charging him with felony invasion of privacy.

According to the indictment, on March 21, 2015, Greitens allegedly knowingly photographed a woman, with whom he has previously admitted to having an affair with, while she was fully or partially nude and without the woman's consent. The photo, the indictment claims, was taken in a place where the woman would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and Greitens allegedly transmitted the image in a manner that allowed access to it via a computer.

State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, said he does not know the full details of the indictment or how strong a case it is, and the General Assembly needs to look into what led to the charges and start to make a decision on if the Governor is still fit to serve.

"I'm not calling for his resignation, and it's certainly possible the St. Louis city prosecutor, who I have served with in the [State] House, is a Democrat and I cannot discount she may possibly be doing all she can to make the indictment happen. We should not jump to conclusions, and the General Assembly will keep doing our jobs."

Fitzpatrick also said the indictment creates a challenge for the Governor going forward in his role.

"Any time a politician has a booking photo on the internet, it makes it harder to be an effective leader," Fitzpatrick said. "That said, we have to be judicious, and if the Governor is not convicted, it will be the right thing to move on."

State Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville, said he is not calling for the Governor to resign, but questions his ability to lead.

"It's sad and I wish it wasn't happening, but I can't see how the governor can continue to be a leader with this hanging over his head," Sater said. "He is suppose to be a leader, and with this felony indictment, it will be difficult for him to continue to lead, and it may be a distraction to us [in the legislature] to get good legislation through not knowing who will sign it.

"I am not calling for his resignation, but the office is bigger than the individual, and that's something everyone should consider."

Greitens released a statement Thursday night saying he made a personal mistake with the affair before he was governor, but he did not commit a crime.

"With [Thursday's] disappointing and misguided political decision, my confidence in our prosecutorial system is shaken, but not broken," he said. "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."

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