Kat Riddler, Managing Editor
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was indicted on April 20 on a felony charge of computer tampering relating to his campaign’s alleged procurement of a nonprofit donor list without the charity’s knowledge.
The Mission Continues was created by Greitens to support military veterans as they readjust to civilian life. He started the charity in 2007 but left it in 2014.
The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office charged Greitens for using the donor list to raise nearly $2 million for his political campaign. Attorney General Josh Hawley said in a statement to NPR, “St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner reviewed the evidence turned over to her by my office and determined that there is probable cause to file criminal charges against the Governor.”
Greitens released in a statement Friday, “When I came home from Iraq after service as a Navy SEAL, I started the Mission Continues to help veterans.”
He continued, “In the seven years I ran that organization, we helped thousands of veterans, won national awards for excellence, and became one of the finest veteran’s charities in the country. … I stand by that work. I will have my day in court. I will clear my name. This prosecutor can come after me with everything she’s got, but as all faithful people know: in time comes the truth. And the time for truth is coming.”
The new felony charge adds to the legal and political woes for Greitens, who already faces a felony invasion of privacy charge stemming from an explicit photo he allegedly took of a woman with whom he was having an affair. Missouri Republican leaders and multimillion donors like David Humphreys, a Joplin businessman who gave Greitens more than $2 million in 2016, have called for Greitens to resign. Missouri Republican leaders are calling for his resignation or threaten impeachment. Greitens has said that he will not resign. A committee in the State House is now considering his impeachment.
The House leadership released the following statement on April 17, “At the outset of this process, we said the governor needed to be forthright and accountable for his actions. After thoughtful consideration of the findings in the House committee’s report and today’s news that the Attorney General has evidence to support another felony charge, we believe the governor needs to take responsibility for his actions.”
The statement continued, “Leaders at all levels of government are entrusted with an incredible responsibility to the Missourians we represent. When leaders lose the ability to effectively lead our state, the right thing to do is step aside. In our view, the time has come for the governor to resign.”
A judge ruled on April 19 that the case will continue to be heard on May 14, despite the Governor asking to dismiss the case.
This ruling was a second time that a judge has interceded pertaining to the privacy case. Judge Rex Burlison issued an order enacting speech limitations in Greitens’ Invasion of Privacy case on April 10. The partial gag order, which prohibits counsel, the parties, and endorsed witnesses from making public statements outside of the courtroom in regards to the trial.
The gag order request was made by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Gardner’s office, which accused Greitens’ defense attorney of “attempting to litigate this case in the press, conducting personal attacks on the victim, witnesses, investigators, and the Circuit Attorney.”