National News

With Trial Set to Start, Charge Dropped Against Greitens

Posted May 14, 2018 7:40 p.m. EDT

ST. LOUIS — Prosecutors on Monday abruptly dropped a felony invasion-of-privacy charge against Missouri’s governor, Eric Greitens, whose trial had been expected to begin this week. The announcement came after three days of jury selection in the case.

Greitens, a Republican in his first term as governor, was accused of taking an explicit photograph of a woman without permission. All along, he has steadfastly denied committing a crime.

Greitens’ lawyers planned to call the St. Louis circuit attorney, Kimberly Gardner, as a witness — a move prosecutors said led them to drop the case. “The court’s order leaves the circuit attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial,” said Susan C. Ryan, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor, in a statement. A spokeswoman for Greitens’ lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the dismissal.

The St. Louis Circuit attorney’s office said it would now seek a special prosecutor, and that the case could be refiled.

The dismissal of the invasion-of-privacy charge does not end the governor’s legal and political troubles. The Missouri General Assembly has scheduled a special session for Friday that could lead to a vote on impeachment. Greitens also faces a separate felony charge of misusing a charity donor list for his political campaign.

State Rep. Gina Mitten, a Democratic member on the House committee investigating Greitens, said in an interview that the dismissal of the charge “doesn’t change a thing.”

“We are an independent body,” she said. “Our committee has conducted an investigation for more than two months, and personally I do not think that the developments in the criminal case should have any impact on our committee continuing to investigate all allegations against the governor.”

The committee has issued two reports on Greitens so far.