St. Louis prosecutors agreed to drop a felony computer tampering charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Wednesday after he announced his resignation from office. The former governor was also accused of binding his hairdresser, blindfolding her, physically abusing her, and coercing her into sexual acts under threat of blackmail with compromising photographs.
In 2007, Greitens founded The Mission Continues, a charity that helps military veterans as they readjust to civilian life. Before leaving the organization in 2014 to run for governor, Greitens allegedly stole a list of the charity’s top donors and transferred the information to his campaign donor list in order to raise nearly $2 million for his gubernatorial race.
Last month, Greitens was indicted on a felony charge of computer tampering related to his campaign’s acquisition of the nonprofit charity donor list without their knowledge. Although Greitens founded the charity, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office accused Greitens of ordering the donor list to be copied without the charity’s consent.
Several Missouri Republican leaders called for Greitens to resign after the governor was recently indicted on a felony invasion of privacy charge stemming from his allegedly abusive extramarital affair with his hairdresser. Although the invasion of privacy charge was dropped earlier this month, the prosecutor in Jackson County is still investigating Greitens and could refile the felony charge against him.
After months of refusing to resign, Greitens abruptly announced his resignation on Tuesday. His resignation is scheduled to take effect on Friday with Lt. Gov. Michael Parson taking over for the rest of his term, which ends in January 2021.
“This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family,” Greitens stated. “I cannot allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty to the people that I love.”
According to Susan Ryan, a spokeswoman for the St. Louis prosecutor’s office, the prosecution agreed to drop the felony computer tampering charge against Greitens once he resigned. If convicted, he could have faced up to four years in prison.
“There’s not going to be this constant battle going on, this dragging people through the mud,” State Representative Kathie Conway told The New York Times. “But I think that there’s still so much healing to do.”
In light of Greitens’ recent resignation, the Missouri House committee is no longer pursuing impeachment proceedings against the former governor.