Lawyers to not request change of venue for Greitens trial

MISSOURI (KFVS/AP) - Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is facing a felony charge of invasion of privacy.

According to the AP, his lawyers say they will not request a change of venue in the governor's criminal trial, at least based on the facts they know about the case

The Governor stepped down from his leadership position with the Republican Governors Association Friday, Feb. 23, the AP reported.

He is stepping down from the group's executive committee.

A City of St. Louis Grand Jury indicted the governor on Thursday, February 22.

He's accused of taking a photograph of a woman in a state of full or partial nudity without her consent.

Greitens released the following statement on Thursday evening:

"As I have said before, I made a personal mistake before I was Governor. I did not commit a crime.

Several reports indicate officers took Greitens into custody earlier on Thursday. He was later released on a personal recognizance bond.

Court documents show he's scheduled to face a judge on March 16.

The Associated Press reported lawyer Edward Dowd told them on Thursday the governor is "absolutely innocent" in response to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's announcement of a grand jury indictment against Greitens related to his affair with a woman in 2015.

Dowd in a statement to the AP said Greitens will file a motion to dismiss the charges.

Dowd has issued a release Thursday evening regarding the investigation.

“We welcome reviewing this issue with the independent, bipartisan committee of the Missouri House of Representatives.
For 40 years as an attorney for the public and for private litigants, I have never seen anything like this. The charges are unfounded and baseless. The Governor is absolutely innocent. Not only is he presumed innocent – he is innocent. This whole investigation is completely unusual.
This statute has never been used like this in Missouri history. In unprecedented fashion, the Circuit Attorney circumvented the local police force and hired her own investigators - we attempted to meet with the Circuit Attorney and make the Governor available to discuss the issues. They refused. She proceeded to file an indictment that has no facts.
We will work with the committee. We will be deposing witnesses and will be happy to share information with you with the Court’s permission.”
– Edward L. Dowd, Jr.

According to the Associated Press, some Democratic lawmakers are calling on Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to resign or be impeached following his indictment on a felony invasion-of-privacy charge.

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty told the AP on Thursday that Greitens should consider resigning. She said it "will be extremely difficult for him to effectively do his job with a felony indictment hanging over his head."

The AP reported that Democratic Sen. Jamilah Nasheed called on Republican House Speaker Todd Richardson to begin impeachment proceedings against Greitens.

Speaker of the House Todd Richardson, Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr and Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo released the following joint statement on Thursday:

"We will carefully examine the facts contained in the indictment and answer the question as to whether or not the governor can lead our state while a felony case moves forward. The people of Missouri deserve no less. We will begin the process of tasking a group of legislators to investigate these serious charges."

Missouri Representative Rick Francis commented on the recent question of whether the governor should step down.

The charges come after Greitens admitted to the affair. The woman's husband at the time claimed Greitens took a photo of her in an attempt to blackmail her if she ever went public.

In January, a Poplar Bluff lawmaker called for an investigation into Greitens in light of the allegations against him.

Other Missouri State Senators also called for an investigation. One said he should resign.

The alleged offense happened before a Jan. 1, 2017 change to the criminal code (a D felony is now up to seven years), so the max prison time Greitens faces is four years in the Department of Corrections. He also faces a fine to not exceed $5,000, a year in county jail or a combination of fine and imprisonment.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers are calling Greitens to resign. State Senators Doug Libla R-Bulter and Gary Romine R-Ste. Genevieve both say the Governor should resign in light of the grand jury's indictment.
“The dark cloud that has been hanging over the Capitol since the State of the State address just got a lot darker,” Libla said. “A grand jury doesn’t hand down an indictment on a whim. The governor should seriously consider resigning, so we can remove the cloud and get back to the people’s work.”
Romine said if the governor fails to resign, the House of Representatives should begin impeachment proceedings immediately.
“We need to get this behind us for the betterment of the state,” Romine said. “It is clear the governor cannot lead effectively while defending himself against this criminal charge.”  

The trouble for Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is familiar to those in the neighboring state of Illinois. ?

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Copyright 2018 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press also contributed to this story.