Missouri Governor Eric Greitens Accused Of Blackmailing A Woman With Revenge Porn

A number of Missouri state senators plan to ask the state's attorney general to launch a formal investigation into allegations of blackmail recently levied against the governor. A man came forward earlier this week with allegations Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens had blackmailed his now ex-wife into silence with a nude photo. The man alleged Greitens had taken the photo while having an extramarital affair with the woman in 2015.

Local St. Louis broadcaster KMOV reported Wednesday there was a recording in which a woman claimed Greitens, who was sworn in as Missouri's governor in January 2017, had once used a nude photo to blackmail her after the two allegedly had a consensual sexual encounter. According to KMOV, the woman's ex-husband recorded a discussion he'd allegedly had with his ex-wife about her first sexual encounter with Greitens. In the recording, the woman apparently claims Greitens took a photograph of her while she was naked, bound, and blindfolded.

"[Greitens] said: 'You're never going to mention my name,' otherwise there will be pictures of me everywhere," the woman allegedly says on the recording. The woman has not publicly spoken about the allegations and, according to KMOV, was not aware her ex-husband had recorded their conversation.

Although Greitens has since admitted to having had an extramarital affair prior to his election, he has denied the allegations of blackmail.

"The governor denies that the picture was taken and denies stating the words attributed to him by her on the recording," Greitens' attorney, James Bennett, told Bustle in an emailed statement. "This was a consensual relationship that lasted multiple months and was years ago before Eric was elected governor."

According to a number of local media outlets, Missouri state Sen. Doug Libla is preparing a letter urging Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley to look in to the allegation of blackmail via a formal investigation. According to a copy of Libla's letter, obtained by KMBC reporter Taisha Walker:

The seriousness of this allegation and the implications it will have on the integrity of our state government are deeply disturbing. The alleged actions have cast another dark shadow over the Missouri State Capitol.

An unknown number of Republican and Democratic state senators are planning to add their names on to Libla's letter to Hawley, The Kansas City Star has reported. Among the state legislators that do are likely to be state Sens. Gina Walsh and Shalonn "Kiki" Curls, who called for an investigation into the allegations Thursday.

"Allegations of extortion, coercion, or threats of violence must be investigated by the proper authorities," read a joint statement from state Sens. Walsh and Curls. "People accused of these egregious acts do not get to waive off the scrutiny of law enforcement simply because they are in a position of power; and victims of these crimes deserve our full support."

The man who brought the recording to KMOV said he was sharing it after both media and law enforcement contacted him. But Greitens' attorney has pushed back against claims that law enforcement had gotten involved.

"The claim that this nearly three-year old story has generated or should generate law enforcement interest is completely false," Bennett told Bustle. "There was no blackmail and that claim is false."

In a joint statement released Wednesday, Greitens and his wife, Sheena, acknowledged the affair, calling it "a deeply personal mistake" that Greitens had already taken responsibility for.

[W]e dealt with this together honestly and privately. While we never would have wished for this pain in our marriage, or the pain that this has caused others, with God's mercy Sheena has forgiven and we have emerged stronger.

The governor hasn't yet responded to legislators' calls for a formal investigation to be opened by the state's attorney general into the allegations of blackmail.