Who is Eric Greitens? Former Missouri guv who photographed woman 'nude' without consent wants to replace Roy Blunt

He coerced a woman into performing oral sex on him after which he permitted her to leave


                            Who is Eric Greitens? Former Missouri guv who photographed woman 'nude' without consent wants to replace Roy Blunt
Eric Greitens (Getty Images)

Former Missouri Republican Eric Greitens, who stepped down as Missouri governor in 2018 after a woman accused him of sexual assault and blackmail, announced his bid on Monday, March 22, to replace retiring Senator Roy Blunt next year.

Greitens’s announcement comes almost three years after he resigned from his post amid growing scandals and allegations surrounding him photographing a woman nude without her consent in an effort to conceal an extramarital affair. Despite being scandal-ridden, Greitens has floated a Senate bid for weeks, even before Blunt announced his retirement earlier this month. March 22 marked his decision as official. “I have been so encouraged by the people of Missouri that I am happy to announce tonight that I am running for the United States Senate to continue serving the people of Missouri,” Greitens said to Fox News.

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Eric Greitens (Twitter/@EricGreitens)

Who is Eric Greitens?

Eric Robert Greitens is an American politician, author, and former Navy SEAL who served as the 56th governor of Missouri from January 2017 until his resignation in June the next year. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Greitens graduated from Duke University in 1996 and received a doctorate from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, as a Rhodes scholar in 2000. After having been a Democrat all his life, Greitens announced that he had become a Republican in 2015, following which he went on to become the first Jewish governor of Missouri.

During his run, he prevailed over three opponents in the Republican primaries and then defeated Democratic state Attorney General Chris Koster in the general election. During his four tours of duty as a SEAL officer in the US Navy, he rose to the rank of lieutenant commander, heading a unit that targeted the Al-Qaeda and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He later became a White House Fellow and founded a nonprofit organization, The Mission Continues, to benefit war veterans. In 2013, he was featured in Time's list of the 100 most influential people in the world.



 

 

Greitens had publicly disclosed his indiscretions

Ahead of an investigative report released by St. Louis CBS affiliate KMOV on the evening of January 10, 2018, Greitens publicly disclosed that he was in an extramarital affair with his hairstylist three years before he was gubernatorial candidate. Their relationship began after a March 7, 2015, hair appointment, during which the fomer governor allegedly touched the woman in her genital area. Although the woman admitted to having had a "crush" on Greitens, a Special Investigative Committee on Oversight of the Missouri House of Representatives report indicates that she did not consent to his touching her in this manner. The sexual affair began on March 21, when Greitens's wife Sheena Elise Chestnut happened to be away

KMOV played a recording made by the hairstylist's then-husband in which she said that Greitens had invited her to his home that morning, where she was asked to change into exercise clothing. She consented to being blindfolded and having her hands taped to home exercise equipment above her head while she was undressed. Then, to her shock, she alleged, he snapped photographs of her naked and threatened to distribute the pictures if she revealed the relationship, the recording said. She testified that Greitens then coerced her into performing oral sex on him, after which he permitted her to leave.

Eric and Sheena Greitens dancing at the inaugural ball (Wikimedia Commons)

The woman alleged that after Greitens took the photograph and he made clear his purpose. A Newsweek report quoted him as saying: "You're not going to mention my name. Don't even mention my name to anybody at all, because if you do, I'm going to take these pictures, and I'm going to put them everywhere I can. They are going to be everywhere, and then everyone will know what a little w***e you are."

Greitens denied the blackmail accusation. His attorney appeared to deny that any pictures were taken writing, in an email reported by KMOV, "No violence. No picture taken. No threat of blackmail." On May 3, 2018, the Missouri House and Senate collected enough signatures from members to call a special session to consider impeachment, but by May 29, Greitens announced that he would resign effective June 1. 

'Worst-kept secret in the world'

Greitens and his wife issued a joint statement in which the former governor acknowledged the affair, calling it "a deeply personal mistake", and adding that the couple "dealt with this together honestly and privately."

The Los Angeles Times reported that the biggest surprise was how long it took for the story to go public, since behind the scenes, many state political figures and national media outlers had been aware of rumors, some for months and even more than a year. St. Louis attorney Albert S Watkins, who represented the woman’s ex-husband called it "the worst-kept secret in the world".

Other potential Republican candidates for Blunt’s seat include Reps. Ann Wagner and Jason Smith.

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