The Buzz

Top Greitens staffer partied at Trump’s resort in wake of blackmail scandal

As Gov. Eric Greitens spent the holiday weekend grappling with the fallout from allegations of blackmail, one of his top staffers traveled to Florida to “party” with the president.

Lucinda Luetkemeyer, the governor’s counsel, posted a photo to her private Instagram account Saturday night of herself and three other women at party at Mar-a-Lago, a Florida resort owned by President Donald Trump.

“Party with POTUS,” she captioned the post.

Lucinda Luetkemeyer (far right), Gov. Eric Greitens’ counsel, posted a photo of herself Saturday at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s Florida resort. Lucinda Luetkemeyer Instagram

Trump faced criticism for spending the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend at the resort rather than conducting service projects as predecessors from both parties had during the past two decades.

The governor’s office would not make Luetkemeyer available for an interview about her trip to the president’s resort on the weekend following the scandal.

Greitens, who has several connections to Vice President Mike Pence, has been a close ally of the Trump administration during his first year as governor.

“The Governor did not travel to Florida during the weekend,” Parker Briden, the governor’s spokesman, said in an email. “Lucinda was at a private event this weekend and not traveling for official business. She did not meet with the President.”

Briden did not answer a question about whether any other members of the governor’s staff were at Mar-a-Lago during the holiday weekend.

Luetkemeyer, the governor’s taxpayer-paid attorney, became the subject of controversy this week after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that she had contacted the attorney representing the ex-husband of the woman the governor allegedly blackmailed prior to the story airing on KMOV-TV in St. Louis.

The ex-husband’s attorney, Albert Watkins, has said that he interpreted Luetkemeyer’s call as an effort to do damage control and prevent the story from getting out. He called that inappropriate, noting Luetkemeyer’s status as a state employee.

State law forbids the governor from using state dollars to defend himself against the alleged blackmail. He is now being represented by a private law firm in the matter.

Greitens faces a criminal investigation in St. Louis and calls to resign from lawmakers from both parties in the wake of the allegations that he took a nude photograph of a woman — who was blindfolded and had her hands bound — in an effort to keep her from speaking about the extramarital affair.

Greitens admits the affair, but vehemently denies the alleged blackmail. He has canceled all of his public events scheduled for this week in face of the controversy.

Sen. Rob Schaaf, a St. Joseph Republican and frequent critic of the governor, criticized Luekemeyer’s role in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday night.

“You cannot escape the stench of cover-up,” Schaaf said. “Governor, I’m asking you, please resign.”

Schaaf responded to The Star’s coverage of Luetkemeyer’s Mar-a-Lago trip by demanding to know who invited her and who paid for her travel in a series of tweets.

Bryan Lowry: 816-234-4077, @BryanLowry3

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