(UPI-Greenblatt)

Breaking: Invasion Of Privacy Charge Dropped Against Gov. Greitens

Prosecutors say they plan to re-file the case. 

May 14, 2018 - 4:50 pm
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The federal invasion of privacy charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has been dropped, however prosecutors plan to re-file the case. 

Related story: Greitens 'Humbled' By Pre-Trial Experience 

The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's office released a statment after the decision to drop the charge was announced saying it will "make a decision to either pursue a special prosecutor or make an appointment of one of her assistants to proceed."

The governor made a statement to media outside the downtown St. Louis Civil Court Building after news that the charge had been dropped: 

Greitens called the decision to drop a criminal charge against him "a great victory that has been a longtime coming."

KMOX's Kevin Killeen was in the courthouse chambers when the judge called a sudden meeting with both defense and prosecution lawyers. 

Related story: Prosecution Admits They've Stopped Searching For Vital Grietens Photo

Assistant St. Louis Circuit Attorney Ronald Sullivan made the surprise announcement Monday in court after the third day of jury selection in Greitens' trial.

Sullivan cited the fact that Greitens' defense attorneys planned to call the St. Louis circuit attorney, whose handling of the case has been under constant criticism by Greitens attorneys.

Related story: House Committee Says it will Continue Impeachment Investigation of Gov. Greitens

Greitens' defense team has particularly focused on the prosecutor's hiring of a private investigator, William Tisaby, whom Greitens' lawyers have accused of perjury. 

The Republican governor was charged with taking and transmitting a photo of an at least partially nude woman without her permission during a sexual encounter in March 2015. Prosecutors previously acknowledged that they did not have the photo but left open the possibility that they would obtain it.

Related story: REARDON: Let the Circus Begin in Greitens Trial

If convicted, Greitens could have been sentenced to up to four years in prison.

Opening arguments had been expected to begin Monday but attorneys instead were still sorting through dozens of prospective jurors who will decide the case.

Greitens has acknowledged having what he says was a consensual affair but has denied criminal wrongdoing. He has declined to directly answer questions about whether he took the photo for which he is charged. Greitens has said the affair started and ended in 2015, as he was preparing to run for governor. He was elected in November 2016.

The woman, who has been identified only as K.S. in court filings, has testified that Greitens bound her hands to exercise equipment in March 2015 in the basement of his St. Louis home, blindfolded her and removed her clothes before she saw a flash and heard what sounded like the click of a cellphone camera. She has said Greitens threatened to disseminate the photo if she spoke of their encounter but later told her he had deleted it.

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. No trial date has been set for that case.

The Legislature also is to convene Friday in a monthlong special session to consider whether to try to impeach Greitens.

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Associated Press writer David A. Lieb contributed from Jefferson City.