Government & Politics

Missouri Supreme Court: Greitens' alleged victim must turn over phone for examination

Five things to know about the Greitens scandal

A St. Louis grand jury on Feb. 22 indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony charge of invasion of privacy.
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A St. Louis grand jury on Feb. 22 indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony charge of invasion of privacy.

Gov. Eric Greitens' alleged victim will have to turn over her phone for examination Monday after the Missouri Supreme Court rejected her petition to block the examination of her cellphone.

The woman’s attorney, Scott Simpson, confirmed Saturday that the state’s high court rejected her petition to reverse an order by St. Louis Judge Rex Burlison requiring his client to turn over her phone for forensic inspection ahead of Greitens' criminal trial.

Simpson had argued in a filing Friday that the examination of the woman’s phone constituted “a gross violation of her privacy that victimizes her again, and is wholly unnecessary when narrower means of discovery are available.”

In a phone call Saturday, he said it was disappointing the court would allow his client’s privacy to be invaded “in a case that deals with whether my client’s privacy was invaded in the first place.”

Greitens, who faces bipartisan calls for his resignation, will go to trial next month on a felony indictment for invasion of privacy based on allegations that he took the woman’s photo without her consent – while she was blindfolded, bound and partly nude – in order to keep her from speaking about an extramarital affair.

Lawmakers found the woman's testimony credible in a report released earlier this month, which outlines additional allegations that the governor coerced the woman into a sexual encounter.

Greitens' attorneys have repeatedly challenged the woman's credibility, and the judge granted their request Monday to require the woman to turn over her phone for third-party forensic inspection.

The governor's legal team did not immediately comment Saturday on the high court's decision or the potential significance of the woman's phone to the case.

The governor has refused to answer directly whether he took the photo, but he has repeatedly asserted that he has done nothing illegal and contended that he is the victim of a smear campaign.

The woman's ex-husband, who first made the allegations against the governor public, will also have to turn over his phone per the judge's order.

That man's attorney, Al Watkins, revealed this past week that he received $100,000 in cash from an anonymous source before his client's allegations against the governor became public. Watkins is set to be deposed in the case Monday.

The woman told a House committee last month that her ex-husband had repeatedly promised to ruin the governor after he confronted her about the affair. He released the surreptitious recording he made of that conversation to the media in January, spurring the criminal and legislative investigations into the governor.

The allegations surfaced shortly after the governor delivered his annual State of the State address. Audio from The Associated Press.

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