Does the photo exist? The Governor refuses to say

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Does the photo exist? It’s a question that has been asked since the allegations stemming from a 2015 extramarital affair by Gov. Eric Greitens first rose in January of 2018, but the answers, it seems are still not forthcoming.

The Missouri State Capitol was rocked by the news that the Republican governor had an affair with his hairdresser, which surfaced when the now-ex-husband of the woman released tapes to the media of a conversation between himself and his then-wife.

In the tape, the woman alleged that the Governor had bound her and that he had allegedly photographed the woman without her consent while she was blindfolded and partly nude in an effort to keep her from talking about the affair.

Since then, Greitens has been indicted by a St. Louis grand jury for the felony charge of invasion of privacy. Greitens’ trial is scheduled to begin on May 14, but a House committee’s investigative report into the governor is expected to be released in the coming week.

Greitens’ attorney, Jim Bennett, told a St. Louis judge in February that he had been informed by prosecutors that the photo doesn’t exist.

Robert Steele, first assistant circuit attorney of St. Louis, said that was incorrect, telling the Kansas City Star that they did not have the photo in their possession at the time.

“We plan to get that picture,” he said.

But throughout all of this, Greitens’s response, when asked if he took the photo, has remained the same – actually, nearly exactly the same, word-for-word, with the occasional re-ordering of words.

“This was a consensual relationship. There there was no violence, this was all consensual. All of these allegations… there was no hush money, there was no violence, there was no threat of violence, there was no blackmail, there was no threat of blackmail, there was no threat of a photograph and blackmail. All of those things are false,” he told Vic Faust of Fox 2 in an exclusive interview.

“A lot of what has been put out is not true. There was no blackmail, there was no violence, there was no photograph for blackmail, there was no threat of using a photograph for blackmail,” the Governor said at a press conference announcing the release of his budget recommendations in late January.

“This was a consensual relationship. There was no blackmail, there was no violence, there was no threat of violence, there was no threat of blackmail, there was no threat of using a photograph for blackmail. All of those things are false,” he told the Associated Press. “The mistake that I made was that I was engaged in a consensual relationship with a woman who wasn’t my wife.”

While the Governor replied to each question, he never truly gave the one answer everyone has sought: a simple “yes” or “no.”

Meanwhile, his defense lawyers have since addressed the matter in a different way.

In an interview on McGraw Live, Greitens’ defense attorney Ed Dowd, when asked if he was admitting now that there is or was a photo taken, replied to McGraw Milhaven he was not.

“No, that’s a tactic and strategy issue that we’ll decide what to do with that issue when we get closer to trial, and probably not until trial.”

When asked if people could safely assume that there is a photo because he was not denying the existence of a photo, Dowd said he would not assume that.

“I wouldn’t assume it. We’re going to talk about that at the time of the trial, and the fact of whether there is one or not,” he replied. “The important thing about that is that a photo doesn’t matter in this case because there is this conduct where two consenting people get together and disrobe so that they can be viewed sexually is not a crime under this statute.”

Whether that photo does exist, it seems, will only be revealed at the trial.

This story originally appeared on missouritimes.com

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