Prosecutor Drops Case Against Missouri Governor After Being Called as a Witness

Prosecutor Drops Case Against Missouri Governor After Being Called as a Witness

Opening arguments had been expected to begin Monday in the criminal trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, but attorneys instead are still sorting through dozens of prospective jurors who will decide the case. Legislative leaders said those plans remain unchanged, despite a decision Monday by St. Louis prosecutors to drop a felony invasion-of-privacy charge alleging Greitens took a revealing and unauthorized photo of a woman with whom he acknowledged having an affair in 2015.

"This is a great victory and it has been a long time coming", Greitens told reporters outside the courthouse.

Greitens faces a separate criminal charge in St. Louis of tampering with computer data for allegedly disclosing the donor list of The Mission Continues to his political fundraiser in 2015 without the permission of the St. Louis-based veterans' charity he founded.

Greitens' indictment in February prompted the Missouri House to launch its own investigation. No Missouri governor has ever been forced out of office.

As he has found himself in legal jeopardy, Greitens is confronting a fight for his political life, with Missouri House and Senate leaders set to convene a special legislative session Friday to consider impeaching the governor.

This case is the very definition of he said, she said and was probably always going to be tough to prosecute. To date the committee's work has not only provided two reports on the facts to the General Assembly but, more importantly, it has also exposed additional concerns relating to the governor's conduct. "The governor has lost the moral authority and the ability to lead the state going forward, and we reaffirm our call that he resign immediately". "Without the pending trial this week, it allows the Governor to take advantage of our open offer to share his side of the facts".

Missourinet St. Louis contributor Jill Enders has been in court in downtown St. Louis covering jury selection daily, and will have an updated story on Missourinet later.

Greitens's mistress, who has not been publicly identified, has claimed that he took a photo of her partially nude, bound and blindfolded, without her permission.

The defense filed a new motion to dismiss the charge Monday.

Prosecutors have less than a month to refile the case under the statute of limitations.

Since January, Governor Greitens and his defense team have taken a scorched-earth legal and media strategy and relentlessly attacked the intentions, character and integrity of every person involved in investigating the Governor's behavior including Missouri House Committee members, the Attorney General, the Circuit Attorney and her team, his victim, her family and those who have called for his resignation. They said she allowed a former lead investigator in the case to commit perjury.

Lawyers for Greitens have criticized the way Gardner has handled the case.

But in a statement Monday, Gardner said Greitens "has produced no compelling reason to include the Circuit Attorney as a witness for any objective". "The defense team knows that the tactic of endorsing the Circuit Attorney as a witness is part of their ongoing effort to distract people from the defendant's actions ..."

Prosecutors announced they were dropping the charge about 4:40 p.m. Monday, after about 40 minutes of whispered conferences among lawyers and multiple trips to the chambers of Circuit Judge Rex Burlison. "The court's order leaves the circuit attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial", her spokeswomen Susan Ryan said in a statement.

The embattled governor celebrated the announcement and once again asserted his innocence.

"I am also tremendously, tremendously grateful for the extraordinary courage and patience of family and friends and people of faith who have all recognized that in time comes the truth".

Greitens has said he is innocent of any criminal wrongdoing and called the relationship in question consensual.

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