Rising-Star Governor of Missouri Denies Slapping or Blackmailing His (Extramarital) Girlfriend

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Eric Greitens in New York City in 2012.
Craig Barritt/Getty Images for The Robin Hood Foundation

On Wednesday night, St. Louis station KMOV reported that a woman with whom Republican Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens had an extramarital affair in 2015 told her now-ex-husband that Greitens had taken a nude photograph of her without her consent and told her he would make it public if she ever told anyone about their relationship. Greitens confirmed that the affair took place but denied that he had blackmailed the woman, who was his hair stylist. On Thursday, Talking Points Memo reported further that the woman’s ex-husband also says she told him that Greitens struck her in July 2015:

The woman who had an affair with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens in 2015 told her then-husband that Greitens slapped her against her will after she told Greitens she had had sex with her husband. … A lawyer for the woman’s ex-husband, as well as Roy Temple, a Missouri Democratic operative, told TPM about the husband’s claims.

Temple says he spoke to the husband in 2016, ostensibly while conducting opposition research, though the claim was not made public until this week. (Greitens was elected governor in 2016 in his first run for public office.) Greitens’ attorney denied the slapping accusation:

“This allegation is completely false,” the lawyer, Jim Bennett, said in an email. “It never happened. There was never any violence. Anything reported otherwise is untrue and we will explore pursuing all legal action. This was a consensual relationship that lasted multiple months and was years ago before Eric was elected Governor.”

Greitens—a 43-year-old former Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL who presumably was hoping his political career would last longer than one year—has said he does not plan to resign.

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