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Missouri Governor Admits to Affair, Denies Blackmail Allegations

 Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has admitted to an affair before he ran for office in 2015.  (File photo by Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has acknowledged he cheated on his wife but denies allegations that he blackmailed his mistress.

11:35 a.m.

A group of Missouri senators is asking the state attorney general to investigate allegations of blackmail against Republican Governor 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

10:35 a.m.

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

10:20 a.m.

Missouri Senate GOP leaders say allegations against Republican Governor 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.

10 a.m.

A hairdresser who, according to her ex-husband, was having an affair with Missouri Governor 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 October 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."

9:45 a.m.

The lawyer for a man who says Missouri Governor 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 spoke 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.

9:05 a.m.

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

8.15 a.m.

The wife of Missouri Governor 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."

12:08 a.m.

Missouri Governor 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."

Read more about this story in an article by KCUR Radio.


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