April 18 (UPI) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says he won’t resign amid pressure from state leaders calling for his ouster over allegations he blackmailed a woman for sex.
“I will not be resigning the governor’s office,” Greitens wrote on Twitter. “In three weeks, this matter will go to a court of law — where it belongs and where the facts will prove my innocence.
“Until then, I will do what the people of Missouri sent me here to do: to serve them and work hard on their behalf.”
Last week a Missouri state House committee published a report with testimony from a woman who said Greitens threatened to release a nude photo of her if she didn’t have sex with him.
Greitens faces felony charges for invasion of privacy — authorities say for transmitting a nude photo of the woman that he took during a 2015 affair.
Late Tuesday, Republican lawmakers in both chambers of the legislature called for Greitens to resign.
Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard said due to the severity of the claims, “it is my wish that we immediately start impeachment proceedings.”
“We are past the point of concerning and alarming,” he added. “Since his time in office, the governor has caused tension, conflict and hostility. The weight of his actions are being felt throughout the state.”
“At the outset of this process, we said the governor needed to be forthright and accountable for his actions. After thoughtful consideration of the findings in the House committee’s report and today’s news that the Attorney General has evidence to support another felony charge, we believe the governor needs to take responsibility for his actions,” House leaders said in a statement.
“Leaders at all levels of government are entrusted with an incredible responsibility to the Missourians we represent. When leaders lose the ability to effectively lead our state, the right thing to do is step aside. In our view, the time has come for the governor to resign.”
Another possible felony charge surfaced Tuesday, when Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said his office has evidence Greitens may have stolen from his own charity.
Hawley told reporters the evidence was sent to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, indicating Greitens may have committed computer tampering, a Class D felony.
The potential charge is related to a donor list from The Mission Continues, a non-profit Greitens founded after serving as a Navy SEAL. According to Hawley, Greitens used the donor list for campaign fundraising, and did so without the permission of the charity.