MISSOURI: Privacy Charge Dropped Against GOP Gov, Case May Be Refiled, Impeachment Still A Possibility

NBC News reports:

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens declared victory as prosecutors abruptly dropped a felony invasion-of-privacy charge alleging he had taken a revealing photo of a woman with whom he has acknowledged having an affair. The St. Louis circuit attorney’s office said it still plans to pursue the case, either through a special prosecutor or an appointed assistant.

But Greitens’ attorneys said the case was crumbling under a lack of evidence and doubted any charge would ever be refiled after Monday’s dismissal.

The first-term Republican governor still faces plenty of other problems. Missouri’s Republican legislative leaders renewed calls for Greitens to resign and confirmed they still will convene Friday in a month-long special session to consider whether to impeach Greitens in an attempt to remove him from office.

Courthouse News reports:

Prosecutors will be seeking to refile the charge with a special prosecutor after Greitens’ lawyers said they would be willing to call St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner as a witness. Once St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison ruled that Gardner could be called as a witness, the decision was made to drop the case.

Greitens, 44, a Republican, is accused of taking a partially nude photo of a mistress and threatening to release the photo online if she ever spoke of the affair. Greitens has admitted to the affair, but denied taking the photo. A grand jury indicted him on felony invasion of privacy.

The New York Times reports:

In dropping the invasion of privacy charge, prosecutors cited the defense team’s decision to call the St. Louis circuit attorney, Kimberly Gardner, as a witness in the case. The lawyers for Mr. Greitens had accused Ms. Gardner of condoning misconduct and lying by an investigator on the case, and apparently intended to question her on those issues.

“When the court and the defense team put the state in the impossible position of choosing between her professional obligations and the pursuit of justice, the circuit attorney will always choose the pursuit of justice,” said Susan C. Ryan, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor, in a statement explaining the decision to drop the charge. “The court’s order leaves the circuit attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial.”