Gov. Eric Greitens delivers the keynote address at the St. Louis Area Police Chiefs Association 27th Annual Police Officer Memorial Prayer Breakfast on April 25, 2018, at the St. Charles Convention Center.

(Photo by Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS/Sipa USA)

Prosecutor Won't Refile Case Stemming from Greitens' Affair

A special prosecutor said Friday she will not refile a felony invasion-of-privacy charge against former governor.

June 08, 2018 - 2:38 pm
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The special prosecutor who considered an invasion of privacy charge against former Gov. Eric Greitens says the woman at the center of the case was credible, but "the clock ran out'' on the statute of limitations. 

Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Friday that she would not refile the felony charge that was dropped by St. Louis prosecutors last month. But at an emotional news conference, Baker vehemently defended the woman whose 2015 affair with Greitens spurred the charges. 

Baker says the statute of limitations on the charge was three years and was about to run out. Despite lengthy investigations, she says her office found no evidence to corroborate the woman's claim that Greitens took an unauthorized and compromising photo of her during a sexual encounter in the basement of his home in March 2015. 

Baker said in a news release that she and a team of assistant prosecutors exhausted potential leads and even enlisted the Missouri State Highway Patrol to investigate. Still, Baker says there wasn't sufficient evidence to consider a criminal charge. 

But Baker says she believes the woman was telling the truth. And the prosecutor was critical of the defense team's questioning of her, citing some of the questions they asked about her body.

The woman involved in a 2015 affair with Greitens says she hopes other women "in similar situations'' are not discouraged by a criminal process that ultimately ended with no criminal charge. 

Previous reporting:

A special prosecutor said Friday she will not refile a felony invasion-of-privacy charge against former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a week after Greitens resigned from office amid allegations of personal and political misconduct. 

St. Louis prosecutors last month dropped the charge that stemmed from Greitens' extramarital affair with his hairdresser, and Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker was appointed a short time later to determine whether it should be refiled. 

Greitens, a 44-year-old former Navy SEAL officer, resigned June 1 amid multiple investigations. One allegation was that he took a photo of the woman involved in the affair in 2015 without her permission while she was blindfolded and at least partially nude. He also was accused of illegally using a donor email list from a charity he founded to raise money for his campaign. Legislators were meeting in special session to consider possible impeachment. 

Baker was tasked with deciding the invasion of privacy case after Judge Rex Burlison last month granted a request from Greitens' attorneys to call St. Louis Circuit Attorney Gardner as a witness. Greitens' attorneys argued that a private investigator Gardner hired to look into Greitens had committed perjury and withheld evidence. Gardner had said the judge's decision left her with no choice but to dismiss the charge and turn it over to a special prosecutor. 

In exchange for Greitens' resignation, Gardner last week dropped the charge pertaining to the charity's email list. 

Greitens' troubles began in January, when St. Louis station KMOV-TV reported that the governor had an affair in 2015 with his hairdresser. Greitens admitted to the affair shortly after the TV report. 

Gardner launched an investigation, leading to the grand jury indictment a month later. Greitens denied criminal wrongdoing and blamed Gardner, a Democrat, calling her a "reckless liberal prosecutor.'' 

The woman testified to a special Missouri House committee that Greitens bound her hands to exercise equipment, 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' attorneys have said that St. Louis prosecutors had stopped searching for evidence of the compromising photo after failing to find it on Greitens' cellphone or in cloud storage. However, the former governor repeatedly declined to answer media questions about the photo. 

The House committee's report released in April also included the woman's testimony alleging that Greitens had restrained, slapped, shoved, threatened and belittled her during a series of sexual encounters that at times left her crying and afraid. Greitens didn't testify before the committee.