A woman who had an affair with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens accuses him of a forced sexual encounter in a graphic report issued Wednesday night by state lawmakers investigating Greitens' conduct.
In sworn testimony, the woman accused Greitens of forcing her into a "bear hug" and putting her on the floor when she attempted to leave his basement in 2015. She testified that Greitens then forced her into oral sex while she was crying "uncontrollably." The woman also told lawmakers that Greitens blindfolded her, tore her shirt open, pulled her pants down, took a photo without her consent, spat in her face and called her "a little whore."
The 25-page report was released by a special committee of the Missouri House of Representatives, which convened to investigate Greitens after he was indicted in February on a charge of invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a nonconsensual nude photo of the woman. The woman's ex-husband has also alleged that Greitens, a Republican in his first term, threatened to blackmail her with the photo.
Greitens has admitted to the affair but denied that he ever tried to blackmail the woman.
Ahead of the document's release, Greitens said at a press conference that the report would include only "lies and falsehoods" and repeatedly bashed the investigation against him as a "political witch hunt."
"This is nothing new. This is nothing new. When I came into politics as an outsider, I was attacked with falsehoods every day," Greitens said. "This is exactly what happens with witch hunts in Washington, D.C. Smearing, lying, attacking people who want to change how things are done is wrong in Washington and it's wrong in Missouri."
The scandal has weighed down Greitens, a former Navy SEAL who was once seen as a rising Republican star. A Mason-Dixon poll released Tuesday found that 47 percent of Missourians disapproved of the job Greitens is doing. Forty-eight percent said they thought Greitens should resign, while 36 percent said he shouldn’t.
Greitens stepped down from his position on the Republican Governors Association’s executive committee and has kept a much lower profile. Greitens’ political operation has made defending the governor its top priority, sending out news clips meant to poke holes in the scandal. The law firm defending Greitens has also brought on a lobbyist who works for the Republican consulting firm of veteran GOP strategist Jeff Roe, Axiom Strategies.
Days before the report’s release, Greitens’ defense team filed a motion arguing that Greitens’ accuser might have dreamed that Greitens photographed her with his cellphone. Greitens' lawyers also said that she sent him nude images of herself through FaceTime in 2015.
The scandal has also divided Missouri Republicans, some of whom already had a tense relationship with Greitens. A few Missouri lawmakers have suggested that Greitens should resign.
While Missouri's next gubernatorial race isn't until 2020, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and her allies have worked to tie Greitens to her likely 2018 opponent, Attorney General Josh Hawley. The Democrats have argued Hawley let Greitens off the hook while investigating his staff’s use of a encrypted text messaging app. Hawley also took a $50,000 donation from the governor during the 2016 campaign.
“All Missourians should worry,” a narrator says in an ad from Senate Majority PAC, which is controlled by allies of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “We should be asking ourselves: Is Josh Hawley bought and paid for?”
Hawley has since launched a new investigation into Greitens — this one examining whether he improperly used a donor list assembled by a nonprofit when Greitens was financing his gubernatorial campaign.
McCaskill tweeted after the report was released that she couldn't "get my head around a man's character that would put his wife and children through this kind of pain."