According to a grand jury, “on or about March 21, 2015, in the City of St. Louis, State of Missouri, the defendant knowingly photographed K.S. in a state of full or partial nudity without the knowledge or consent of K.S. and in a place where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the defendant subsequently transmitted the image contained in the photograph in a manner that allowed access to the image via a computer.” It’s a class-D felony, carrying a maximum prison sentence of seven years.
Greitens was released and is due back in court on March 16. In a statement, his lawyer called the charges “baseless and unfounded.”
The governor traversed the path from rising star to defendant in near record time. A native St. Louisan, he scored a full scholarship to Duke, where he designed his own major in ethics, followed by a Rhodes Scholarship, and then joined the Navy SEALs, serving abroad and winning a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Returning to civilian life, he was awarded a prestigious White House fellowship, then formed a nonprofit dedicated to veterans’ issues. He published three books, including a memoir and a collection of letters to a fellow veteran grappling with PTSD. He also married, and has two young children.
In other words, Greitens had built a perfect resume for politics. The question was what to run for, and in what party. Although he had been a lifelong Democrat, Greitens announced that he was a “conservative Republican” in a 2015 FoxNews.com essay, saying that his experience with the Department of Veterans Affairs had shaped his view of government. “The problem is that most Democrats seem to think more money and bigger government are the solutions to virtually every single problem. They’re wrong,” he wrote. It was a happy coincidence that Missouri was more favorable turf for a Republican than a Democrat. Greitens racked up adoring coverage in conservative media. “If Eric Greitens sent you his résumé, you wouldn’t believe it,” wrote F. Bill McMorris.
In 2015, Greitens announced he would run in the Republican primary for Missouri governor, his first race for elected office. Greitens charted a course as a dedicated family man, an outsider, and the reverse of the tainted politicians who held sway in the state.
“I’m running for governor because we need a political outsider to move Missouri forward. Like you, I’m tired of the career politicians and lobbyists who are ruining our state,” Greitens said when he announced his candidacy, adding, “We have in Missouri a political class of corrupt consultants, well-paid lobbyists, and career politicians who have been in Jefferson City for decades and they have produced nothing for us but embarrassment and failure.”
Running as an outsider is a time-tested strategy, but Greitens’s decision to run on family values was audacious, since he was still conducting an extramarital affair after announcing his candidacy, according to an email obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.