Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is now facing another felony charge — this one for computer tampering.
The charge stems from an allegation that Greitens obtained or transferred a donor list from a nonprofit he founded and used it for political gain. He allegedly did so on April 22, 2015 — meaning the statute of limitations on the charge would have passed by the time the courts reopen on Monday.
The direct complaint was filed by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office Friday afternoon. Earlier this week, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley held a press conference to say he believed there was probable cause to charge Greitens in the matter
— and said he was turning over the case to the circuit attorney.
Hawley has claimed he does not have jurisdiction in the matter since it allegedly happened in St. Louis. However, his timing in turning over the case drew pushback from some Democrats, who noted that the Associated Press first broke the news that Greitens had obtained the Mission Continues donor list in 2016
. (Greitens has also already settled a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission over it.) Why, they wondered, wait until Greitens was facing calls for impeachment
if the evidence was there all along?
Adding to the soap opera, Greitens, who is already facing a felony count of invasion of privacy in St. Louis Circuit Court for allegedly taking a semi-nude photo of his hairdresser as blackmai
l, had gone to court earlier in the week to seek a restraining order to stop Hawley from prosecuting him. But that legal action gave him no such protection against the circuit attorney.
The Circuit Attorney's Office has asked that a warrant be issued (again) for the governor's arrest.
He goes to trial on the invasion of privacy case May 14. Earlier this week, the judge in that case rejected defense motions to throw out the charge over prosecutorial missteps.
With the new charge, however, comes new calls for the House to begin impeachment proceedings even before that trial begins. In a statement, House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) urged the proceedings to begin "now."
“One way or another, Eric Greitens’ short tenure as Missouri governor is about to end," she said. "The only person who doesn’t understand that is Eric Greitens. Since he will not resign, the House of Representatives must immediately begin impeachment proceedings. This is far too important to delay to special session a month or more from now.”
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