Missouri’s Republican Gov. Eric Greitens has been accused of blackmailing a former mistress, but it seems that his efforts to keep that individual quiet went beyond that, possibly including the use of state resources to intimidate his former lover.
An unnamed woman came forward earlier this month, alleging that Greitens threatened to make public a nude image of her if she ever went public with the affair, which occurred back in 2015. The woman’s now ex-husband provided details of the affair to Missouri news station KMOV last week.
Greitens, according to the woman, allegedly tied her arms while she was naked, and took a photograph of her against her will.
“You’re never going to mention my name,” he said, according to her accounts, threatening to disburse the images if she did.
Although the allegations have not yet been substantiated beyond the woman’s accounts, Greitens has, in the past, engaged in some questionable behavior. His campaign ads highlighted his Navy SEAL background, shooting a gun at explosives and stating he would “take dead aim at politics as usual” in the state, for instance.
The governor has since admitted to the affair, but he denies the allegations of blackmail.
But now, new revelations from the attorney representing the ex-husband add a new twist to the story.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that Lucinda Luetkemeyer, an attorney who works in the governor’s office, called attorney Albert Watkins, asking him about the allegations just hours before the news broke about Greitens’ affair. Luetkemeyer asked about Watkins’ client, specifically inquiring over whether he was talking with the media yet or not.
Watkins recorded the conversation, which he said crossed a huge line over what types of resources should be used to conduct damage control over the governor’s personal shortcomings.
“I found it chillingly disturbing that she would make that call as a state-paid employee,” Watkins explained.
Up to this point, Greitens and his legal team have insisted that they’re paying entirely for the governor’s defense against allegations of blackmail. But these new recordings seem to indicate otherwise, that members of his state-paid legal counsel were trying to do work on his behalf regarding the details of the affair.
That is a grave misuse of state dollars, and it warrants an investigation into whether Greitens himself told his lawyer to contact his former lover’s ex-husband. If it’s revealed he did, actions ought to be undertaken by lawmakers in the state legislature to remedy his misdeeds, unless he decides to do what’s best for his state and resign.