The woman at the center of a scandal that has rocked Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has spoken out publicly for the first time, saying she’s been dragged into a fight she didn’t want.
The interview with the woman comes after her story was the basis for a criminal charge against Greitens — and the GOP chief executive’s potential impeachment.
The woman has not spoken to the media since KMOV-TV broke the story of the scandal following Greitens’ State of the State address in January. She has not been identified in court or elsewhere and asked KSDK to keep her name out of the story, citing a desire to protect her children.
The woman told members of the Missouri House and prosecutors that Greitens took a semi-nude photo of her without her consent. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner filed a felony invasion of privacy charge against Greitens but dropped it during jury selection on May 14 after allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker was appointed special prosecutor Monday to look into the allegations against Greitens.
The woman also told lawmakers that Greitens coerced her into a sex act in his basement, a charge he’s steadfastly denied. Asked if she stood by what she told the House committee, she replied: “Yes, I do stand by them.”
“Looking back, it’s so hard,” the woman said. “I see myself as so vulnerable.”
Ultimately, the woman continued to see Greitens. She said “I just wanted to feel better. I felt so awful about myself, I wanted to forget what happened.”
“I didn’t want to believe what actually happened,” she said. “And so, if he really likes me, then it never happened like that.”
Greitens has admitted to having an extramarital affair, but has denied that he's broken any law.
During the interview, the woman said she was “in the middle of the most difficult, crazy fight that I didn’t ask to be a part of.”
The woman’s ex-husband ended up speaking in the KMOV story, which included secretly recorded tapes that were taken without her permission. It’s been revealed that the man’s attorney, Al Watkins, received more than $100,000 to deal with the fallout from the scandal. And Watkins told St. Louis Public Radio that he was told the money came from a “Republican donor” with an “ax to grind.”
The woman said she had not been paid to tell her story.
“I have no clue with this money thing. I don’t know who it was, or what they wanted to accomplish. But they used me,” she said. “They used me. Not the person that got paid. They used me. And then the defense team representing the governor, they want to do their job as well. But the easiest thing to do is to attack me.”
Greitens’ attorneys were prepared to challenge the woman’s credibility in court had the invasion of privacy gone forward. Prosecutors never found the photo that they say Greitens took — nor did they have any evidence that he sent it to the cloud or a computer.
When asked if she was trying to strike out at Greitens because a case couldn’t be made in court, she replied: “I have no ill intentions other than not being made to be a liar.”
“I’m not lying,” she said. “It was hard at that time, and it’s hard to talk about. I’m not lying. That’s it. I want to move on. I want to heal."
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