Charge dropped against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens
Posted May 14, 2018 6:50 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — Attorneys representing the state of Missouri announced Monday they will drop a felony invasion of privacy charge against Gov. Eric Greitens, after the attorney prosecuting the case was named as a witness in the trial.
However, the decision might only mark a temporary victory for Greitens. Prosecutors said they plan to name either a special prosecutor or one of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's assistants to refile the charge and move forward with the case.
"The court's order leaves the Circuit Attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial," Gardner's office said in a statement. "Therefore, the court has left the circuit Attorney with no other legal option than to dismiss and refile this matter."
Greitens' team named Gardner as a possible defense witness, something her office's statement called a tactic "to distract people from the defendant's actions."
Greitens faced the invasion of privacy charge stemming from a photo he allegedly took of a woman with whom he had an affair, when she was bound and blindfolded. The governor has also been charged with felony computer tampering relating to his campaign's alleged use of a charity donor list.
As he has found himself in legal jeopardy, Greitens is confronting a fight for his political life, with Missouri House and Senate leaders set to convene a special legislative session Friday to consider impeaching the governor.
A Missouri House committee investigating Greitens is also moving ahead with its work, announcing in a brief meeting Monday that subpoenas have been issued for the Greitens for Missouri campaign, the pro-Greitens nonprofit group A New Missouri, and the governor's former campaign manager and top political adviser Austin Chambers. CNN has previously reached out to Chambers' attorney for comment but has not received a response.
Greitens has maintained his innocence of any crimes and panned the investigations into his conduct as a "political witch hunt." But a roster of Missouri Republican lawmakers have called on the governor to step down, including Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the upcoming midterm elections.
Greitens celebrated the decision on Twitter.
"Today, the prosecutor dropped the false charges against me," he said. "This was a great victory and a long time coming. I've said from the beginning that I am innocent."
He added, "This experience has also been humbling, and I've emerged from it a changed man. I believe that in all of our lives, we have to deal with pain, and that if we deal with it in the right way, we can learn wisdom."