Warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of alleged sexual assault.
A Missouri state House committee released a graphic report Wednesday including lurid details of alleged conduct by Gov. Eric Greitens with a woman who testified under oath that Greitens subjected her to non-consensual sexual activity and violence.
The report could set the stage for impeachment proceedings against the embattled Republican governor, who already faces criminal invasion of privacy charges in addition to multiple ongoing probes.
The woman, whose name was concealed by the committee, said under oath that the governor staged and took a photo of her bound and blindfolded, and then threatened to release the photo, were she to disclose their encounter.
“You’re not going to mention my name. Don’t even mention my name to anybody at all, because if you do, I’m going to take these pictures, and I’m going to put them everywhere I can. They are going to be everywhere,” he said, according to her testimony, “and then everyone will know what a little whore you are.” The governor previously denied that he had ever blackmailed or threatened the woman.
The woman testified that during their first sexual encounter, Greitens held his penis near her face as she was “uncontrollably crying.” She said she felt coerced into oral sex, and agreed with the statement that she “didn’t feel necessarily able to leave without performing oral sex” and feared for her “physical self.”
In another meeting, the woman said Greitens asked her whether she had been sexually active with anyone else, including her husband. When she replied that she had, Greitens “slapped me across my face, just like hard,” the woman said.
The first page of the report featured a “sensitive content warning” due to the “descriptions of an adult nature and coarse language” featured therein.
Greitens, in a statement to reporters prior to the report’s release Wednesday, called the investigation a “political witch hunt” and characterized the findings as “tabloid trash gossip” based on “lies and falsehoods,” although witnesses interviewed with the committee under oath, and the committee found the woman to be “an overall credible witness.” The governor declined to testify.
His response Wednesday echoed statements by his team in recent weeks, which have sought to frame the governor’s scandal as a partisan endeavor. But a Republican majority authorized the House committee’s investigation, which was also led by a Republican.
Meanwhile, Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley has opened an investigation into the Greitens campaign’s use of a nonprofit donor list, an issue also being probed by the House committee and the St. Louis circuit attorney.
The scandal now enveloping the governor has marked a sharp fall for Greitens, a former Navy SEAL who was viewed as a rising national star in the Republican Party.
Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson says the investigative committee will not finish its investigation into Greitens before the end of the legislative session. Richardson said during a news conference he will begin the process of calling a special session. “This is not a witch hunt,” said the speaker.
Democratic Floor Leader Gail Beatty called for Greitens’ impeachment. “He clearly used his power to manipulate her,” Beatty said. “I think what we have seen so far is grounds for impeachment.”