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Government, Politics & Issues
Gov. Eric Greitens announced in late May that he would resign after facing months of political and legal scandals.The saga started in January, when KMOV released a recording of a woman saying Greitens took a compromising photo of her during a sexual encounter and threatened to blackmail her.A St. Louis grand jury indicted Greitens in February on felony invasion of privacy. The woman testified to lawmakers that Greitens sexually and physically abused her, spurring bipartisan calls for his resignation or impeachment.The invasion of privacy charge was eventually dropped by St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office following a series of prosecutorial missteps before the trial began. Greitens was also accused of illegally obtaining a donor list from the veterans non-profit he co-founded with his political campaign, but that charge, too, was dismissed as part a deal that led to his resignation as governor.

Special committee investigating Greitens’ indictment holds brief first meeting

Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications
At left, Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, tells media members to expect closed-door meetings and to respect the privacy of witnesses called to testify.

The first meeting of the Missouri House committee investigating the indictment of Gov. Eric Greitens lasted just over two minutes, the bulk of which saw the head of the committee telling the media what he expects from them.

Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said to expect most, if not all, of the proceedings to take place behind closed doors.

“As a committee that wants to go through a fact-finding process, having that completely open would destroy the very purpose of the committee,” he said. “We also have, I believe, a responsibility to protect the identity and the privacy of witnesses, and we will do our best to make sure that happens.”

Barnes then said neither he nor any members of the committee are going to publicly discuss anything they do until their official report is issued.

“At the conclusion of this committee, we will have a public report and records of our proceedings, but until that time you are not going to get any comments from me, or members of this committee, or hints from members of this committee,” he said. “You are wasting your time trying, and it wouldn’t be fair to anyone involved in this process.”

Committee members then voted to close their next meeting to the public, during which they’ll begin taking testimony from witnesses. That meeting is taking place Wednesday at the Jefferson City police station, three blocks from the capitol. Barnes did not say why the committee was meeting at the police station, which has several private entrances.

The Special Investigative Committee on Oversight has until April 9 to conduct its investigation, and its report will either recommend impeachment, censure, or no action against Greitens. He’s accused of taking a semi-nude photo of his then-mistress without her permission in 2015.

Greitens and state Republican party officials call the indictment a political witch hunt by a Democratic prosecutor.

His trial is set to begin May 14 in St. Louis Circuit Court.

Follow Marshall on Twitter:@MarshallGReport

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