Lawyer denies Missouri governor slapped ex-lover

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File

The attorney for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens alleges reporting about the governor's extramarital affair is being driven by a former state Democratic Party leader.

Posted: Jan. 11, 2018 9:54 PM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Latest on Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens acknowledging he cheated on his wife but denying blackmail allegations (all times local):

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7:30 p.m.

The attorney for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens alleges reporting about the governor's extramarital affair is being driven by a former state Democratic Party leader.

The Republican governor acknowledged the monthslong extramarital affair late Wednesday after KMOV-TV reported he had a sexual relationship with his hairdresser in 2015. Greitens denied claims that he took a nude photo of her and threatened to release it publicly if she disclosed the relationship.

Greitens' attorney, Jim Bennett, on Thursday said it is clear "this is a political hit piece."

Former Missouri Democratic Party chairman Roy Temple told The Associated Press that he met with the woman's ex-husband several times in September 2016. But when the man ultimately decided he didn't want to go public, Temple says he agreed not to publicize the affair.

Temple says he has not spoken to the ex-husband since then.

Greitens was elected in November 2016.

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6:10 p.m.

The attorney for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says the governor is "very confident" he will be cleared of any wrongdoing in an investigation into an extramarital affair.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner on Thursday announced a formal investigation to determine if the Republican governor committed any crimes associated with the affair in 2015 with his hairdresser. Greitens acknowledged late Wednesday that he had been "unfaithful" in his marriage after KMOV-TV reported details of the affair, including an allegation that Greitens took a nude photo and threatened to release it if she disclosed the relationship.

Greitens' attorney, Jim Bennett, says in an email statement to The Associated Press that the affair is a personal matter "that presents no matters of public or legal interest." He says the facts "will prove that fully."

An attorney for the woman's ex-husband says he has been interviewed multiple times by the FBI. An FBI spokeswoman declined comment.

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4:30 p.m.

The St. Louis circuit attorney has launched a formal investigation to determine if Gov. Eric Greitens committed any crimes associated with an extramarital affair in 2015.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner initially said Thursday that no criminal complaint had been filed against Greitens, and no evidence of a crime has been presented to her office. But she said later Thursday that after further consideration, she believes an investigation is necessary.

The Republican governor acknowledged late Wednesday that he had been "unfaithful" in his marriage after KMOV-TV reported he had a sexual relationship with his hairdresser in 2015.

Greitens' attorney, Jim Bennett, denied allegations made by the woman's ex-husband that the governor threatened to reveal a naked photograph of her if she exposed their relationship.

An attorney for the ex-husband says he has been interviewed multiple times by the FBI. An FBI spokeswoman declined comment.

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2 p.m.

The attorney for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is denying an allegation that Greitens slapped a woman with whom he had an affair.

The Republican governor acknowledged the months-long extramarital affair late Wednesday after KMOV-TV reported he had a sexual relationship with his hairdresser in 2015. Greitens denied claims that he took nude photos of her and threatened to release them publicly if she disclosed the relationship.

Al Watkins, the attorney for the woman's ex-husband, says his client told him that Greitens slapped his ex-wife during the affair. According to Watkins, the ex-husband says Greitens became upset when the woman said she had sex with the ex-husband during a period when they were trying to reconcile.

Greitens' attorney, Jim Bennett, wrote in an email Thursday that any allegation of violence is "completely false." He says Greitens and the woman had a consensual relationship.

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1 p.m.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says he did not take nude photos of a woman or threaten to blackmail her if she disclosed their relationship.

Greitens' attorney, Jim Bennett, also on Thursday said allegations of violence are "completely false." Bennett says anything reported otherwise is untrue and that they will pursue legal action.

Greitens acknowledged a months-long extramarital affair late Wednesday after KMOV reported he had a sexual relationship with his hairdresser in 2015.

In a tape secretly recorded by her ex-husband, the woman says Greitens told her he would disclose nude photos of her if she spoke about their relationship.

Bennett says Greitens denies taking a photo and denies stating that.

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12:50 p.m.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is not under criminal investigation in St. Louis following an allegation of blackmail, but the city's top prosecutor is encouraging anyone with evidence of a crime to come forward.

The Republican governor acknowledged late Wednesday that he has been "unfaithful" in his marriage. Greitens' attorney, Jim Bennett, separately denied allegations made by the woman's ex-husband that the governor threatened to reveal a naked photograph of her if she exposed their relationship.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said Thursday that no criminal complaint has been filed against Greitens, and no evidence of a crime has been presented to her office.

An attorney for the ex-husband says he has been interviewed multiple times by the FBI. An FBI spokeswoman declined comment, saying the agency's policy is to neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.

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12:30 p.m.

Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Parson is taking a wait-and-see approach before saying whether he believes Gov. Eric Greitens should step aside following an acknowledgment of an extramarital affair.

Greitens, a Republican, acknowledged the 2015 affair late Wednesday but denied claims that he tried to blackmail the woman.

Democratic Sen. Jamilah Nasheed has called on him to resign.

Parson is next in line to be governor.

Asked Thursday if he believes Greitens should resign, Parson responded: "Until we figure out what all the facts are in this and until we get information, we need to wait and see."

Republican Sen. Rob Schaaf, a frequent Greitens critic, said he doesn't believe Greitens can weather the political storm, but stopped short of calling on him to quit.

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11:35 a.m.

A group of Missouri senators is asking the state attorney general to investigate allegations of blackmail against Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.

In a letter signed by Republicans and Democrats, state GOP Sen. Doug Libla asked Attorney General Josh Hawley to open a formal investigation on Greitens. Hawley is also a Republican.

The governor on Wednesday acknowledged having an affair with his hairdresser in 2015, but he denied claims of blackmail.

In a recording provided by her ex-husband, the woman said Greitens photographed her nude and threatened to release the images to the public if she ever spoke out about their relationship.

The attorney general's office did not have an immediate response as to whether it would investigate the matter. One Democratic state senator, Scott Sifton, said he believes it's up to local prosecutors to review if potential criminal violations occurred.

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10:35 a.m.

Two Democratic Missouri Senate leaders say allegations of extortion or threats of violence arising after Gov. Eric Greitens' acknowledged he cheated on his wife must be investigated.

Sen. Gina Walsh of Bellefontaine Neighbors and Sen. Kiki Curls of Kansas City said in a statement Thursday that questions remain about Greitens' affair.

The governor has denied accusations made by the woman's ex-husband that Greitens photographed her nude and threatened to publicize the images if she spoke about their affair.

Walsh and Curls said violence against women is unacceptable and that allegations of extortion, coercion or threats must be investigated.

"People accused of these egregious acts do not get to waive off the scrutiny of law enforcement simply because they are in a position of power; and victims of these crimes deserve our full support."

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10:20 a.m.

Missouri Senate GOP leaders say allegations against Republican Gov. Eric Greitens are "shocking and concerning."

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, Majority Leader Mike Kehoe and Assistant Majority Leader Bob Onder released a joint statement Thursday urging Greitens to be "honest and forthright."

Greitens acknowledged late Wednesday that he has been "unfaithful" in his marriage, following a news report uncovering an affair with his former hairdresser.

In a separate statement, Greitens' attorney, Jim Bennett, denied allegations made by the woman's ex-husband that the governor threatened to expose an uncompromising photograph of her if she revealed their relationship.

Senate Democratic leaders Gina Walsh and Kiki Curls said "violence and threats against women are never acceptable" and that allegations of extortion, coercion or threats of violence must be investigated.

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10 a.m.

A hairdresser who, according to her ex-husband, was having an affair with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens sent the Republican an email asking him to stop booking appointments at the salon where she worked.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the email was sent Oct. 20, 2015, three weeks after Greitens filed papers formally starting his 2016 gubernatorial campaign. It was sent to the same account that Greitens listed on a website he used in the campaign.

The newspaper doesn't say how it obtained the email.

She asked Greitens, whom she called by his first name, to "please consider all who are involved and the circumstances around us." She said returning to the salon "isn't fair to me, nor anyone close to us" and that she needed to "move forward."

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9:45 a.m.

The lawyer for a man who says Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens had an affair with his now ex-wife says the FBI has contacted him several times since October 2016 about the affair.

Attorney Al Watkins said Thursday that he doesn't know if the FBI is conducting a criminal investigation. But Watkins says the agency has spoken to him about the affair in 2015 as well as allegations that Greitens threatened to blackmail his client's ex-wife using compromising photos if she spoke about their liaisons.

He didn't say if the ex-husband has also heard from the FBI.

The Republican governor acknowledged late Wednesday that he was "unfaithful" in his marriage. In a separate statement, Greitens' attorney, Jim Bennett, says there was no blackmail.

Phone and email messages left Thursday with the FBI office in St. Louis were not immediately returned.

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9:05 a.m.

A Democratic state senator in Missouri is calling for Gov. Eric Greitens to resign after the Republican acknowledged he cheated on his wife.

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, of St. Louis, made the demand in a series of tweets Wednesday night and Thursday morning. She says Greitens has called for an end to the "culture of corruption" and that it is time for him to "walk the walk."

She says Greitens' resignation would "give Missouri the opportunity to restore some dignity to the governor's office."

A TV station reported late Wednesday that Greitens had a sexual relationship with his former hairdresser in 2015. Greitens' wife, Sheena, said in a statement they still have "a loving marriage."

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8.15 a.m.

The wife of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says she has "a loving marriage and an awesome family," despite her Republican husband's admitted infidelity before he was voted into office.

Sheena Greitens said in a statement that "anything beyond that is between us and God."

She is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri and co-director of the university's Institute for Korean Studies.

Responding to allegations that her husband tried to blackmail the woman with whom he is alleged to have had an affair, Greitens urged "the media and those who wish to peddle gossip to stay away from me and my children."

She and her husband also released a joint statement Wednesday acknowledging the affair and describing it as a "deeply personal mistake."

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12:08 a.m.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens acknowledges he was "unfaithful" in his marriage but denies allegations that he blackmailed the woman he had an extramarital affair with to stay quiet.

The Republican governor and his wife released a statement Wednesday night. It came after St. Louis television station KMOV reported that Greitens had a sexual relationship with his former hairdresser in 2015. The station reported that the woman's ex-husband alleged Greitens photographed her nude and threatened to publicize the images if she spoke about the affair.

The woman allegedly involved did not comment on the record to the station, which released its report late Wednesday after Greitens gave his State of the State speech. But her ex-husband provided a recording of her detailing a sexual encounter with Greitens and saying Greitens told her the photos would be released if she exposed the affair. She did not know she was being recorded.

Greitens' statement with his wife, Sheena, didn't address the affair specifically or the allegations, but in a separate statement Greitens' attorney, Jim Bennett, said, "There was no blackmail and that claim is false."

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

1/11/2018 7:36:21 PM (GMT -6:00)

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