JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A St. Louis Grand Jury indicted Missouri Governor Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge Thursday afternoon.
The indictment was unsealed around 4:00 p.m., saying the grand jury believed they had enough probable cause evidence to believe Governor Grietens took a nude photograph of a woman he had an affair with in March 2015, without her knowledge or consent.
Greitens was taken into custody and released on a personal recognizance, meaning they trust him to show up to court. His attorney called the indictment baseless and that they will file a motion to dismiss.
A few hours later, the governor released a statement himself, reading, "With today’s disappointing and misguided political decision, my confidence in our prosecutorial system is shaken, but not broken. I know this will be righted soon."
He went on to say, "The people of Missouri deserve better than a reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points. I look forward to the legal remedies to reverse this action."
There were members of both parties calling for a resignation or impeachment Thursday night, and House GOP leaders said in a joint statement they will form a committee to conduct an investigation into the charges.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe said it's not his place to judge the governor, but says he's concerned with the Governor's ability to lead the state.
"I don't think it's my position to be the judge or the jury. There's a court that will decide that. My concern is the Governor's ability to lead the state, and the Governor full well knows, as a Navy SEAL, that he understands the roles and responsibility of leadership," Kehoe said. "It's my opinion that we should take that into consideration. We're going to have to figure out whether his abilities to lead the state going forward is something he's able to do."
Greitens' lawyer released a new statement after 9:00 p.m. Thursday night, it reads, “We welcome reviewing this issue with the independent, bipartisan committee of the Missouri House of Representatives. For 40 years as an attorney for the public and for private litigants, I have never seen anything like this. The charges are unfounded and baseless. The Governor is absolutely innocent. Not only is he presumed innocent – he is innocent. This whole investigation is completely unusual. This statute has never been used like this in Missouri history. In unprecedented fashion, the Circuit Attorney circumvented the local police force and hired her own investigators - we attempted to meet with the Circuit Attorney and make the Governor available to discuss the issues. They refused. She proceeded to file an indictment that has no facts.We will work with the committee. We will be deposing witnesses and will be happy to share information with you with the Court’s permission.”
Governor Greitens was supposed to attend a meeting of the National Governors Association this weekend in Washington, but a spokesperson with that organization said she was told he will not be attending.