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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.

Cole County prosecutor won’t charge Greitens over campaign finance reports

Gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens looks at his ballot before sitting down to vote at the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens looks at his ballot before sitting down to vote at the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Election Day 2016.

Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson announced he will not charge Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens for filing false campaign finance reports.

It’s a situation that stems back to April 2017, when Greitens signed a consent order with the Missouri Ethics Commission about a matter that may become a major rationale for his potential impeachment.

After initially denying he used a fundraising list from The Mission Continues for political purposes, Greitens acknowledged in April 2017 that he did use that information to raise money for his campaign. He signed a consent order with the Missouri Ethics Commission saying that Danny Laub, a former campaign aide, provided the list as an in-kind contribution.

But after being deposed this year by Attorney General Josh Hawley, Laub denied he gave the Greitens’ campaign with the list. A House committee report showed that one of Greitens’ employees, Krystal Taylor, sent the list to Laub and Michael Hafner, then a campaign advisor, in January 2017. The Kansas City Star reported last month that Hawley turned information over to Richardson to potentially charge Greitens with filing false campaign finance reports.

Richardson released a statement saying “I have decided not to file a criminal charge” as suggested by Hawley’s office. A spokesman for Richardson did not return a phone call from St. Louis Public Radio.

In a statement, Hawley spokeswoman Mary Compton said prosecuting Attorneys "have the discretion whether to pursue criminal charges, but this Office stands by its determination that the information provided supports a determination of probable cause.”

In an interview with St. Louis Public Radio on Thursday, Catherine Hanaway, an attorney for Greitens’ political committee, defended the way the consent order was structured. Greitens ultimately was fined $1,000, but only had to pay $100.

“It was going to be resolved by reflecting Danny as the person who, since he was the campaign manager and the list was there when the campaign started, provided the list to the campaign,” Hanaway said. “It isn’t more complicated than that. The campaign starts. The list is already there. Danny Laub’s the campaign manager. So he’s reflected on this case that was settled with the Missouri Ethics Commission for a very minor fine. This is a minor campaign violation. Most speeding tickets cost more than $100.”

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty slammed Richardson’s decision, noting that he decided to pursue criminal charges against protesters in the Senate gallery — but not Greitens.

“Two years ago, Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Richardson aggressively prosecuted a group of elderly black pastors for singing hymns in the Senate,” McCann Beatty said. “Today, he announced that he can’t be bothered to pursue charges against a Republican governor accused of actual crimes. Mr. Richardson clearly has difficulty assessing threats to the integrity of state government.”

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

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