ST. LOUIS (AP) — Prosecutors on Monday dropped an invasion-of-privacy charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, but say they still plan to pursue the case.
FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2018, file photo, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens listens to a question during an interview in his office at the Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo., where discussed having an extramarital affair before taking office. Jury selection is taking longer than expected in the criminal trial of Greitens. Opening arguments had been expected to begin Monday, May 14. Instead, attorneys who began screening prospective jurors last week are to continuing doing so Monday. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
Assistant St. Louis Circuit Attorney Ronald Sullivan made the surprise announcement in court after the third day of jury selection in Greitens' trial. Sullivan cited the fact that Greitens' defense attorneys planned to call the St. Louis circuit attorney, Kim Gardner, whose handling of the case has been under constant criticism by Greitens attorneys.
Greitens' defense team has particularly focused on the prosecutor's hiring of a private investigator, William Tisaby, whom Greitens' lawyers have accused of perjury.
The first-term Republican governor was charged with felony invasion of privacy for allegedly taking and transmitting a photo of an at least partially nude woman without her permission in 2015. If convicted, Greitens could have faced up to four years in prison. He's denied criminal wrongdoing.
A Gardner spokeswoman says a decision will be made later on how to proceed.
Greitens has rejected calls to resign from both Republicans and Democrats since he first admitted in January that he had an affair before he was elected governor in 2016.
The woman, who has been identified only as K.S. in court filings, has testified that Greitens bound her hands to exercise equipment in March 2015 in the basement of his St. Louis home, blindfolded her and removed her clothes before she saw a flash and heard what sounded like the click of a cellphone camera. She has said Greitens threatened to disseminate the photo if she spoke of their encounter but later told her he had deleted it.
Greitens' indictment in February prompted the Missouri House to launch its own investigation. It released a report in April containing more testimony from the woman that Greitens had restrained, slapped, shoved, threatened and belittled her during a series of sexual encounters that at times left her crying and afraid.
The committee released a second report May 2 with testimony about how Greitens' gubernatorial campaign had used a donor list from The Mission Continues without the permission of the St. Louis-based veterans' charity he founded. Greitens also faces a felony charge in St. Louis for disclosing the donor list to his political fundraiser, though no trial date has been set.