Attorney for ex-husband of Gov. Greitens’ ex-mistress will speak with special committee
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. —Attorney Al Watkins, who represented the ex-husband of the woman who had an affair with Mo. Gov. Eric Greitens, will speak with the special House committee investigating the governor on Thursday.
“Missouri Times” publisher Scott Faughn told the committee on Wednesday that he paid Watkins $100,000 in cash for recordings the ex-husband made so he could write a book. The tapes exposed the governor’s extra-marital affair.
Faughn paid Watkins another $20,000 for legal representation.
Faughn testified that the money was his own but repeatedly refused to answer legislative questions about how he got the money. Faughn said he wouldn’t discuss the inner operations of his business. The Jefferson City-based newspaper focuses on coverage of the state capital.
“No one believes that it’s your own money. That’s a lot of cash,” Committee Chairman Rep. Jay Barnes told Faughn.
Greitens’ attorneys and supporters have pointed to the cash payments while suggesting there was some sort of strategy from political opponents to publicize the audio recordings in an attempt to damage the governor.
Faughn, who is a frequent critic of Greitens, said he hadn’t shared the audio recordings with anyone besides Barnes.
Missouri lawmakers are meeting in special session to determine whether to pursue impeachment proceedings against Greitens in an attempt to oust him from office.
In Cole County Circuit Court, Judge Jon Beetem issued no immediate ruling Wednesday after listening to arguments on whether Greitens’ gubernatorial campaign and A New Missouri nonprofit should be compelled to comply with legislative subpoenas seeking information about the secretive group that supports Greitens’ agenda.
A New Missouri is a 501c4 social welfare nonprofit that doesn’t have to disclose the identities of its donors. The organization has spent money on behalf of Greitens and his policy goals, including making contributions to other groups supporting a right-to-work law Greitens signed limiting union powers.
House attorney Mark Kempton said the subpoenas are trying to “get to the bottom of whether or not there have been any campaign contribution violations.”
Although the subpoenas were broader, he said lawmakers currently are focused on just a couple of main areas — communications and documents showing potential coordination between Greitens, his campaign committee and A New Missouri; and communications and expenditures by A New Missouri related to media advertising.
Attorney Catherine Hanaway, a former GOP gubernatorial rival who now represents Greitens’ campaign and A New Missouri, argued that the request to enforce the subpoenas should be dismissed. She noted that the House resolution creating the investigatory panel limits it to allegations against Greitens and added that A New Missouri is a separate entity.
“The subpoenas are sweeping in their demands and not within the scope of the House investigation,” Hanaway told the judge.
Beetem gave attorneys until the end of business Friday to submit additional written arguments and proposed rulings.
At the Capitol, House committee members focused on another aspect of their investigation: whether Greitens engaged in misconduct during what he has described as a consensual affair in 2015, before he won election.
Greitens acknowledged the affair in January after TV station KMOV aired excerpts of an audio recording in which a woman describes to her husband how Greitens had bound her hands, blindfolded her, taken a photo of her partially nude and threatened to distribute it if she talked about their encounter.
Lawmakers on Wednesday continued to read aloud transcripts of a deposition taken in April by Greitens’ attorneys of the woman as part of a felony invasion-of-privacy charge against Greitens that later was dismissed.
Greitens’ lawyers asked the woman about a wide range of questions, from belly button piercing to times she lied to friends and family about Greitens and intimate details of sexual encounters with the governor. She also was questioned about returning to see Greitens after she says he slapped her.