Criminal Justice

Prosecutor drops privacy invasion charge against Missouri governor after jury selection begins

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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens no longer faces a felony charge of privacy invasion for allegedly taking a nude photo of his onetime mistress without her knowledge.

But Greitens may not be in the clear. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner’s office indicated Monday that she was dropping the charge but it would be refiled, the Washington Post, Courthouse News Service and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report.

Gardner dropped the charge after jury selection had begun in Greitens’ trial and a judge ruled that Gardner could potentially be called as a witness. Gardner’s office said she may seek a special prosecutor or assign the case to one of her assistants.

Greitens has previously admitted that he had an affair with his hairstylist, but has denied past allegations that he tied the woman up with her consent, photographed her without her consent, and threatened to release the photo if she disclosed the affair.

According to a defense motion seeking to dismiss the charge, a special master reviewing images from Greitens’ cellphone wasn’t able to find any images associated with the mistress. Nor was there any evidence that the woman’s photo had been deleted, the motion says. Even if there was a photo, the motion said, “it could have been of the floor, of the ceiling, or of [the woman’s] feet.”

Gardner had interviewed Greitens’ former witness alone, and she was also present in an interview of the woman by a case investigator that became an issue in the case. Defense lawyers alleged the investigator committed perjury when he said he didn’t take notes during the interview.

Greitens called the dismissal “a great victory” while his lawyer, Jim Bennett, said the charge was dismissed because there was no evidence in the case.

Greitens still faces a charge of computer tampering for allegedly taking a donor list from a charity he founded to raise funds for his gubernatorial campaign.

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