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Greitens resigns as Missouri governor

Greitens resigns as Missouri governor

May 29th, 2018 by News Tribune in Missouri News

Gov. Eric Greitens reads from a prepared statement as he announces his resignation effective 5 p.m. Friday, June 1, 2018, during a hastily called press conference Tuesday, May 29, 2018, in his Capitol office in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

Gov. Eric Greitens has resigned as Missouri's 56th governor.

In a 4:15 p.m. news conference Tuesday in the governor's office within the Capitol, Greitens said: "Today, I am announcing I am going to resign."

Reporters gather in the Governor's Office for a press conference in which Gov. Eric Greitens announced his resignation.

Reporters gather in the Governor's Office for a...

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

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"I love Missouri, and I love our people. That love remains. I am thankful for all those who worked beside me, sweated beside me. Those who gave their time.

With Greitens' resignation, Lt. Gov. Mike Parson will become governor of the state.

In his announcement, Greitens said: "We have accomplished a lot. I am proud of you and all of our work. The last few months have been incredibly difficult for me and my family, for my team, for my friends and for many, many people. This ordeal has been designed to create an incredible amount of strain on my family and friends."

Greitens said he has not broken "any laws or any offense worthy of this treatment. I will let the fairness of this process be judged by history. It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as your governor."

In wrapping up his statement, he said: "The time has come to take care of those who have been wounded and to care for those who need us most. So for the moment, let us walk off the battlefield with our heads held high."

On Feb. 22, a St. Louis grand jury indicted Greitens on a charge of taking a photograph of a woman, without her permission, while she was at least partially nude, bound and blindfolded — and taking that picture in a way that it could be shared with a computer. The incident reportedly occurred in March 2015 in the basement of his St. Louis home before Greitens launched his campaign for governor.

The governor admitted to being involved in an extramarital affair with the woman, but denied doing anything illegal or criminal.

In a joint statement after Greitens' resignation, House Speaker Todd Richardson, Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, and Majority Leader Rob Vescovo said: "We believe the Governor has put the best interest of Missourians first today by choosing to resign. The past few months have been difficult for everyone involved, including the Governor and his family. This is a serious and solemn occasion that reminds us that our state and our duty are bigger than any one person or party."

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, created the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight in late February, just days after the indictment. The committee, led by chairman Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, has released two reports during its ongoing investigation.

The first report focused on allegations raised with the invasion of privacy charge. The second report focused on its research into allegations Greitens tampered with a computer by taking donor and email lists from The Mission Continues — the veterans service charity he helped found in 2007 — without the charity's permission and using the information to raise approximately $2 million during the early stages of his eventually successful race for the governorship.

The Legislature called itself back into a 30-day special session to discuss if Greitens should be impeached, which began May 18.

Earlier Friday, a Cole County judge ruled Greitens' campaign committee, Greitens for Missouri, and "A New Missouri," the non-profit organization formed to support Greitens and his policies, must respond to subpoenas issued by a House committee.

The committee recently issued a number of subpoenas to both the campaign committee and A New Missouri, which was formed under the federal IRS 501(c)(4) regulations, so it doesn't have to identify its donors — then asked the circuit court to enforce the subpoenas when the committees sought to block them.