House committee again backs woman’s account of relationship with Greitens
The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens said Monday it continues to believe the testimony of the woman with whom the governor had an affair in 2015.
The Special Investigative Committee on Oversight on Monday released a five-page addition to its earlier report refuting the governor’s claim that a taped interview the woman gave to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner directly contradicted what she told the committee.
Greitens' legal team called the latest release "more false information that has not been subject to cross-examination."
“The committee does not find anything in the Circuit Attorney interview that causes it to change its statement regarding Witness 1’s credibility,” chairman Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said in a statement. “Greitens’ claims about the content of the Circuit Attorney interview mischaracterize the actual testimony received and reviewed by this committee.”
In the committee’s first report, released earlier this month, the woman identified only as K.S., accused the governor of physical and sexual abuse. She also repeated allegations that the governor tied her to workout equipment in his basement, took a semi-nude photo of her without her permission, and then threatened to make the photos public if she told anyone about their relationship. Greitens is charged with felony invasion of privacy for the alleged photo.
The report increased the already intense political pressure on the governor. Josh Hawley, the Republican attorney general and Senate candidate, became the highest-ranking member of the state GOP to demand Greitens’ resignation. Less than a week later, the governor would lose the support of the legislative leadership. House Speaker Todd Richardson announced Thursday that he was “close” to collecting the 123 signatures needed to call a special session, likely to consider impeachment of the governor.
Greitens fiercely decried the report as a political witch hunt, calling it “one-sided tabloid trash gossip” produced in secret. The next day, his attorneys accused Gardner of misconduct for failing to turn over a videotape and notes of her interview with K.S, and asked Circuit Judge Rex Burlison to throw out the case. Burlison denied that request, but allowed the defense team to take new depositions of the woman and her ex-husband, along with an investigator.
Barnes said the committee took seriously the claims that the video undermined the testimony K.S. gave to the members, and immediately requested the video. The report found that while her exact wording changed, the general facts did not.
State Rep. Marsha Haefner, R-Oakville, a longtime Greitens critic, said she appreciated the way the committee released the new information.
"I appreciate the format of it, the way they compared what was on the video to what they found, subject by subject, and drew conclusions that way," she said.
The committee also discredited the defense’s argument, made in a motion filed April 9, that K.S. admitted to seeing the phone “in a dream.” Attorneys for Greitens quoted a portion of K.S.’ lengthy deposition in that motion, but, the committee noted, the governor’s defense team has refused to turn the entire document over to them.
“This Committee’s charge is to determine the truth,” the report concluded. “Having claimed that the deposition testimony is helpful to Greitens, it is incumbent on his counsel to comply with the Committee’s duly-issued subpoena an to expeditiously provide it with the entire deposition transcript.”
Greitens' legal team said in a statement that it was under court order not to turn over the deposition, and continued to proclaim the governor's innocence.
"Any allegation of sexual violence, coercion, or assault are completely and totally untrue. He is innocent, and it has become obvious to almost everyone watching this case that the allegations made against him are now collapsing under the weight of pay offs, lies, and perjury," said Maria Jeffrey, a Greitens spokeswoman.
Read the five-page addition to the House committee report here:
Marshall Griffin contributed reporting from Jefferson City
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