ST. LOUIS — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is now facing two more felony charges Friday after the Missouri Attorney General announced he found evidence of criminal activity in the governor’s charity.
On Friday, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner charged Greitens with two counts of felony tampering with computer data after finding probable cause that the Republican governor violated Missouri law. Officials have issued a summons for Greitens’ arrest, meaning they will coordinate a time for him to turn himself in.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Tuesday that his investigation into Greitens’ charity, The Mission Continues, has uncovered evidence of criminal activity. Hawley in no uncertain terms also called on Greitens to resign.
Hawley said his investigation revealed evidence that Greitens’ use of the charity’s donor list broke the law. He said the governor’s “serious misconduct” is an “impeachable offense.”
The Associated Press first reported in October 2016 that Greitens’ campaign had obtained a list of top donors to The Mission Continues. The AP found that Greitens’ campaign had raised nearly $2 million from donors who previously gave significant amounts to The Mission Continues. Hawley said his office found evidence that Greitens transmitted that list without permission in violation of the law.
Court documents say Greitens “acted with others” when he took and used data specifically owned by The Mission Continues for the the purpose of soliciting funds for his political campaign.
At the direction of Grietens, a person known only by the initials K.T. disclosed data, specifically a donor list owned by The Mission Continues, to a political fundraiser working on behalf of Greitens campaign.
According to the probable cause report, The Mission Continues said neither Greitens nor K.T. had permission from the nonprofit to disclose the donor list to the fundraiser or to use the donor list for political purposes.
Court documents say Greitens and K.T. knew that the donor list disclosed on April 22, 2015, was taken without permission of The Mission Continues. Greitens was allegedly aware that K.T. retained or used the list with out the permission of the charity and Greitens directed K.T. to send the donor list in an April 22, 2015, email to the fundraiser.
On April 22, 2015, the donor list resided and existed internal to a computer system used by K.T. for the purpose of conducting business on behalf of Greitens’ campaign, court records say.
Greitens and K.T. allegedly disclosed the donor list to the fundraiser for the purpose of obtaining $500 or more. A spokesperson for the circuit attorney’s office declined to comment if K.T. was a witness or will be charged as well.
Greitens released a statement on his Facebook page Friday:
“Two months ago, a prosecutor brought a case against me.
“She claimed she had evidence of a crime—but she’s produced none.
“She said her investigator would find the truth. Instead, her investigator lied under oath and created false evidence.
“She is wasting thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars to do all of this.
“Her original case is falling apart—so today, she’s brought a new one. By now, everyone knows what this is: this prosecutor will use any charge she can to smear me.
“Thank goodness for the Constitution and our court system. In the United States of America, you’re innocent until proven guilty. In the United States of America, you get your day in court.
“And when I have my day in court, I will clear my name. People will know the truth.
“The latest charge is about my work at the Mission Continues. When I came home from Iraq after service as a Navy SEAL, I started the Mission Continues to help veterans. In the seven years I ran that organization, we helped thousands of veterans, won national awards for excellence, and became one of the finest veteran’s charities in the country.
“Those were some of the best years of my life, and I am grateful every day for the chance to help the men and women I served with. I stand by that work.
“I will have my day in court. I will clear my name. This prosecutor can come after me with everything she’s got, but as all faithful people know: in time comes the truth. And the time for truth is coming.”
Greitens’ attorney, Ed Dowd, also released a statement in response to the charges:
“This charge makes no sense at all.
“Eric made the Mission Continues. He raised millions of dollars for it. That money helped thousands of veterans transform their lives. He dedicated years of his life to creating the organization, and he spent the earliest period working for no pay. It was an extraordinary act of public service.
“Now he’s being accused of stealing an email list from an organization he built? Give me a break. Not only did he create this list donor by donor, friend by friend, but the Mission Continues still has the list.
“The idea that this is a crime is absurd. How convenient that he’s being charged just two days before the statute of limitations runs out on a so-called crime that’s three years old.
“The court will find Eric innocent of yet another absurd charge, and the people of Missouri will learn the true motives behind this action soon enough. This allegation is absurd, and Eric will be found innocent of this accusation in court.”
Hawley released the following statement after the charges were announced Friday:
“St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner reviewed the evidence turned over to her by my office and determined that there is probable cause to file criminal charges against the Governor. The Office stands ready to assist the Circuit Attorney’s Office where appropriate and if needed. These are serious charges—and an important reminder that no one is above the law in Missouri. Like all criminal defendants, Governor Greitens is presumed innocent under the law until proven guilty.”
Greitens already faces a felony invasion-of-privacy charge in St. Louis for allegedly taking and transmitting a nonconsensual photo of a partially nude woman with whom Greitens said he had an affair.
Separately, a special House investigatory committee is to recommend whether to pursue impeachment proceedings against Greitens.
After the new charges were filed against Greitens, House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty was one of the first Missouri lawmakers to once again call for his resignation or impeachment.
“It’s embarrassing, quite frankly and I don’t think the Governor can survive this,” she said. “I think he’s the only one who seems to think he can. I think it’s incumbent upon us in the house that we move as swiftly as possible with the impeachment process for the sake of the state.”
“I’m hopeful that we get back on Monday we will move on this and things will get done very swiftly,” she said.