St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner dropped invasion of privacy charges against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens for nude photos he allegedly took without a woman’s permission, the Kansas City Star reported Monday.
The prosecutor dropped the felony charge against Greitens after the judge in the case ruled that the defense would be allowed to call Gardner to the witness stand. The circuit attorney’s office asked the court to assign a special prosecutor to refile the charges against the governor, which stem from accusations Greitens’ former mistress has made against him.
“When the court and the defense team put the state in the impossible position of choosing between her professional obligations and the pursuit of justice, the Circuit Attorney will always choose the pursuit of justice,” Gardner’s office wrote in a statement. “The court’s order leaves the Circuit Attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial. Therefore, the court has left the Circuit Attorney with no other legal option than to dismiss and refile this matter.”
Greitens has been under investigation for months after admitting to an extramarital affair with his hairdresser, an unidentified woman who claims her encounters with the governor weren’t always consensual. The governor’s accuser told a Missouri House special investigative committee that Greitens took nude photos of her without her permission, only to say later she may have imagined the photos being taken of her.
She also alleged that Greitens forced her to the ground and coerced her into having oral sex, according to the committee’s report released last month.
Greitens’ accuser told the committee that the governor told her not to mention his name or he would “take these pictures, and I’m going to put them everywhere I can.”
The governor was indicted in February on first-degree felony invasion of privacy over the photographs. Greitens’ trial began on Thursday, though his attorney Jim Martin told the Star that prosecutors failed to find evidence of the photo.
Another of Greitens’ attorneys asked for the judge to unseal all the records of the case in protest that the charge would be refiled, the Star reported Monday. Judge Rex Burlison has agreed to unseal all documents in the case.