ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge for allegedly taking a compromising photo of a woman with whom he had an affair in 2015, the city circuit attorney’s office said Thursday.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner launched an investigation in January after Greitens admitted to an affair with his St. Louis hairdresser that began in March 2015. He was elected governor in November 2016.
Gov. Eric Greitens admitted to an extramarital affair before he took office last year but denied allegations he also blackmailed the woman with non-consensual nude pictures in an effort to ensure her silence.
Gardner declined comment beyond a brief news release, but spokeswoman Susan Ryan confirmed the indictment stemmed from a photo Greitens allegedly took of the woman.
The indictment states that on March 21, 2015, Greitens photographed a woman identified only by her initials “in a state of full or partial nudity” without her knowledge or consent. The indictment said Greitens “transmitted the image contained in the photograph in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer.”
Greitens was taken into custody in St. Louis and released on his own recognizance, Ryan said.
The woman told her husband, who was secretly taping the conversation, that Greitens took the compromising photo of her at his home and threatened to use it as blackmail if she spoke about the affair. A news release from Gardner says it is a felony if a person transmits an image “in a manner that allows access to that image via a computer.”
Messages seeking comment from Greitens and his attorney were not immediately returned.
Greitens has repeatedly denied blackmailing the woman, but has repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether he took a photo.