Local Prosecutor Probing Blackmail Allegations Against Missouri Governor

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GOP leaders in the Missouri Senate released a joint statement Thursday describing the allegations as "shocking and concerning" and urging Greitens to be "honest and forthright".

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens said he had an extramarital affair with a woman before his election in November 2016 but denied a local television report that he tried to blackmail her to keep their relationship a secret. She also said during the taped conversation that Greitens threatened to release the photo if she went public about the affair.

Greitens' attorney, Jim Bennett, wrote in an email Thursday that any allegation of violence is "completely false".

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said Thursday that no criminal complaint has been filed against Greitens, and no evidence of a crime has been presented to her office.

However, a bipartisan group of senators - all frequent critics of the governor - announced they were sending a letter asking state Attorney General Josh Hawley to investigate the matter.

"I try to pride myself on what the issue is at hand in front of me and I think most of my colleagues do also", Libla said.

KMOV-TV in St. Louis aired a recording late on Wednesday of the unidentified woman with whom Greitens admitted having the affair as she confessed the March 2015 encounter to her then-husband.

According to Jason Rosenbaum of St. Louis Public Radio, Missouri politicians are "focusing on" the blackmail aspect of the allegations, which Greitens denied. The husband is recording her without her knowledge and she says, "This can not leave the auto".

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"Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this honestly and privately", the statement continued.

This is and remains an nearly three-year-old private matter with no matter of public interest at stake. He has barely hidden his higher political ambitions and reserved the web address ericgreitensforpresident.com years ago. Crucially, the woman has refused to grant interviews about the affair, but that didn't stop KMOV from splashing the story just hours after the governor's State of the State speech last night.

"A few years ago, before Eric was elected governor, there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage", the statement read. Greitens also claims the photograph does not exist, and denies the quote attributed to him on the recording.

"I wanted to share with you some statements that are important in light of news you may have seen tonight".

He thanked "God's mercy" for helping his wife Sheena forgive him. "We understand that there will be some people who cannot forgive - but for those who can find it in your heart, Eric asks for our forgiveness, and we are grateful for your love, your compassion, and your prayers".

His lawyer, in a separate statement, added: "There was no blackmail, and that claim is false.The outrageous claims of improper conduct regarding these almost-three year-ago events are a lie".

The St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Kansas City Star reported that they too had possession of a transcript of the surreptitious recording and had interviewed the ex-husband.

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