Then on Friday, a 30-day special session on the governor’s impeachment is set to begin in the Missouri House.
Though just about anything can happen in a courtroom, and has, we would not be surprised to see Greitens acquitted on the invasion of privacy charge.
That’s not because we don’t believe the account of the governor’s former hairdresser, as laid out in excruciating detail by the House committee, which also took sworn testimony from the woman’s ex-husband and two friends she told about Greitens’ behavior with her soon after it occurred in 2015.
But Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Dierker has said that prosecutors do not have the semi-naked photo that the governor is accused of taking without the victim’s consent. That will make it more difficult for prosecutors to prove their case.
The governor’s legal team, meanwhile, is still trying to stop the state from continuing to search for it on the governor’s phone. If Greitens took no such picture, why stop the search?
Still, unless St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s team finds that photo — and clearly, time is running out — it will be tough to get a conviction on this charge.
In a separate felony case, Greitens is also accused of accessing the donor list of the veterans charity he started without the group’s consent, and of using the list illegally, to raise campaign cash.
Greitens, who has from the beginning denied that he did anything wrong in either case, continues to cast himself as the victim of a politically inspired “witch hunt.”
Not exactly; there’s no evidence that Gardner is hysterical, or out to get a monster that exists only in her imagination.
“You can’t read the accounts” in reports from the House committee, former Missouri GOP chair John Hancock told us recently, “and come away with anything other than extreme concern.” The only way to believe Greitens not guilty of the behavior he’s accused of, Hancock says, “is to believe that everyone else is lying, and I’m not prone to believing conspiracy theories.” We aren’t, either.
Ultimately, only one person is to blame for Eric Greitens’ problems, and that’s Eric Greitens.
Yet the newbie prosecutor does not seem to have made the strongest possible case against a public official who indulged in the usual magical thinking that he’d never pay any price for his actions.
In fact, Gardner’s decision not to pursue sexual assault charges is more mystifying than her assumption that the photo would turn up.
Whatever happens in court this week won’t change our view that Greitens deserves to be impeached, though.
Or that Missouri deserves a governor who has not been credibly accused of sexual and physical violence and theft.
Impeachment is not apt to happen quickly, but it’s more important that it be handled correctly, which is why we’ve repeatedly asked Greitens to step down for the good of the state, not to mention of his own family.
That there are children involved makes his refusal to do so even more heartbreaking than it is infuriating. The state will recover from his ugly self-indulgence, and so will the governor’s party, but the innocent may or may not, and that too, will be on him.