Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, 43, was accused of threatening to use a nude photo to blackmail a woman with whom he was having an affair.
On Thursday, Greitens was indicted by a grand jury on felony invasion of privacy. He was released on his own recognizance.
The governor says he will not resign – and will, instead, fight the charges. The alleged events occurred before he was governor. Greitens was elected governor, November 2016.
“You’re never going to mention my name, otherwise this picture will be everywhere,” Greitens told the woman, she claimed on the audio.
Nothing in the recording indicated Greitens followed through on the alleged threat to disseminate the photo. In the audio, the woman says she told Greitens she was angry about the picture and Greitens told her he deleted the photo.
The indictment states Greitens photographed the woman without her consent and “transmitted the image contained in the photograph in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer.”
Greitens’ attorney, Edward L. Dowd, Jr., said “The charges against my client are baseless and unfounded. My client is absolutely innocent. We will be filing a motion to dismiss.”
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner launched the investigation. She is a Democrat.
Greitens, who is a Republican, denied allegations he blackmailed the woman and called Gardner “a reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points.”
“I made a personal mistake before I was Governor,” he said. “I did not commit a crime. With today’s disappointing and misguided political decision, my confidence in our prosecutorial system is shaken, but not broken.”