Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens resigns amid scandal and felony charge

Greitens faced a felony charge and possible impeachment.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. CREDIT:  Michael Thomas/ Getty Images
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. CREDIT: Michael Thomas/ Getty Images

Embattled Gov. Eric Greitens (R) resigned his post during a hastily convened press conference from the Missouri State House on Tuesday afternoon, bringing an abrupt end to his once promising political career. The resignation takes effect on Friday at 5 p.m. CST.

Lawmakers of all political persuasions had been pressuring Greitens to resign for months, ever since he faced a federal invasion of privacy charge after he allegedly sexually assaulted a hairdresser he invited into his home, and then used photographs taken of the woman to try and blackmail her. The invasion of privacy charge has since been dropped.

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In the weeks following the initial charge, prosecutors also indicted Greitens for illegal fundraising activity.

As recently as last week, Greitens was preparing to spend nearly $200,000 on a statewide television campaign ad blitz that was expected to run through the first week of June. Greitens remained defiant as the legal investigation into him and his campaign expanded, insisting even during his resignation speech that he had done nothing wrong. Instead, he blamed the media and politically motivated prosecutors for his downfall.

“This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family,” he said. “I cannot allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty to the people I love… I have not broken any laws or committed any offense worthy of this treatment.”

Had he elected to remain in office, he would have likely faced impeachment hearings by the state legislature.