St. Louis Public Radio: Mo. Governor Is Under Pressure To Resign After He’s Indicted

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Republican governor of Missouri is again under pressure to resign after being charged with the felony invasion of privacy. A grand jury in St. Louis indicted Governor Eric Greitens yesterday. He’s accused of taking a semi-nude photo of a woman without her consent. St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann reports.

RACHEL LIPPMANN, BYLINE: The calls for Greitens to step down started in January. That’s when a local TV station reported that he had an affair, took the pictures of the woman and then threatened to release them if she talked. The calls are getting louder. And now, the impeachment word is being thrown around, too. Republican State Senator Rob Schaaf is a longtime critic of the governor.

ROB SCHAAF: I think that the governor should resign immediately. And if he doesn’t resign, I think that the House needs to start its investigation and move quickly to resolve the situation.

LIPPMANN: State House leadership, also all Republicans, said they will start looking into the charges. Many Democrats from across Missouri joined in the calls for Greitens to resign or to be kicked out of office, but others like State Senator Jill Shupe, who represents part of the St. Louis suburbs, urged more caution.

JILL SCHUPP: We need to see what happens, and then we need to be ready to move forward and act, should that become appropriate.

LIPPMANN: The governor still has his defenders. They include Bruce Buwalda, the chair of the St. Louis County Republican Party.

BRUCE BUWALDA: It’s going to feed calls for him to resign, but I think she’s playing pure politics.

LIPPMANN: He’s referring to Democrat Kim Gardner, the St. Louis prosecutor who announced the charges. The governor took the same line of attack in a statement he posted on Facebook, where he called Gardner a, quote, “reckless liberal prosecutor.” Greitens has admitted to the affair but has said all along he did not commit a crime. And he shows no signs of stepping down. Greitens and Republican lawmakers have not gotten along since he was sworn in last year, so their demands are not surprising. But they’ll get harder to resist the longer the legal case lasts, says David Robertson. He’s the chair of the political science department at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

DAVID ROBERTSON: Republican donors are going to become very concerned that their political party that they support will be hurt the longer this drags on.

LIPPMANN: Attorneys for Greitens have already filed a motion to dismiss the case. The governor, who was released without having to pay bond, is due back in court on March 16. For NPR News, I’m Rachel Lippmann in St. Louis.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAVES OF STEEL’S “TRANSVERSE”) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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