Government & Politics

Investigators interview two dozen lawmakers as part of criminal probe of Greitens

Confession to an affair, but denial of blackmail allegations

Gov. Eric Greitens has admitted he had an extramarital affair in 2015.
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Gov. Eric Greitens has admitted he had an extramarital affair in 2015.

Investigators from the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office spoke with at least two dozen Missouri lawmakers on Wednesday as part of a criminal investigation into Gov. Eric Greitens.

Among those interviewed were House Speaker Todd Richardson, a Poplar Bluff Republican, and Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, a Jefferson City Republican.

Both men declined to provide details to reporters Thursday on what they discussed with the investigators.

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, a Kansas City Democrat, also spoke with the circuit attorney’s investigators on Wednesday. She said their questions focused on the governor’s efforts to reach out to her last month after news of the affair and alleged blackmail became public.

Greitens spent the days after the revelations calling donors and members of the legislature to apologize and assure them that no new allegations would surface.

McCann Beatty said investigators wanted to know details about that phone call, but as it turns out she and the governor exchanged messages but never actually spoke.

McCann Beatty’s description of her conversation with investigators was similar to that of many lawmakers who spoke Thursday with The Star. The investigators focused their questions on the conversations and interactions legislators had with the governor about the affair and alleged blackmail before and after the story went public.

Rep. Nate Walker, a Kirksville Republican, said his conversation with investigators covered a broader range of topics, including the governor’s use of dark money and the role of the governor’s state counsel, Lucinda Luetkemeyer.

He could not say for sure whether the investigators were the ones to first broach these topics during his roughly 30-minute interview or whether he introduced them to the conversation.

“I can’t recall. There was a lot of things that we talked about,” he said. “They know what they’re doing.”

Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, a St. Louis County Democrat, also spoke with investigators but declined to offer details of her conversation.

The governor’s private attorney, Jim Bennett, said his team is aware of the investigation and is confident that it will be resolved favorably for the governor.

The investigators aren’t done talking with lawmakers in the Capitol.

Rep. Robert Cornejo, a St. Peters Republican, said he was contacted by the two investigators from the circuit attorney’s office Wednesday. They told him they would be back in the Capitol next week, so Cornejo said he was scheduled to speak with them on Tuesday.

Cornejo said he wasn’t sure what information he could provide, as he said he hasn’t spoken with the governor since news of the affair and alleged blackmail broke last month.

Greitens visited the Missouri Veterans Home in Warrensburg on Thursday, but his staff said the governor would not be taking questions at the event.

Jason Hancock: 573-634-3565, @J_Hancock

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