Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted Friday on a felony charge of computer tampering relating to his campaign’s alleged procurement of a nonprofit donor list without the charity’s knowledge.
Greitens founded the charity, The Mission Continues, to support military veterans as they readjust to civilian life. But a probable cause statement issued by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office charged that Greitens “directed the disclosure” of “data, specifically a donor list owned by The Mission Continues, to a political fundraiser … working on behalf of Greitens for Missouri.”
Greitens and an unnamed campaign aide “knew that the donor list disclosed on April 22, 2015, was taken without the permission of The Mission Continues,” the statement continued.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who aided the St. Louis circuit attorney in the case by turning over evidence earlier this week, reacted in a statement Friday: “These are serious charges – and an important reminder that no one is above the law in Missouri.”
On Friday, Greitens released a statement saying he stands by his work with the charity.
“When I came home from Iraq after service as a Navy SEAL, I started the Mission Continues to help veterans,” Greitens said. “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. … 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.”
His attorney, Ed Dowd, said, “This charge makes no sense at all.”
“Now he’s being accused of stealing an email list from an organization he built?” Dowd said in a statement. “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.”
The new felony charge compounds the legal and political woes for Greitens, who already faces a felony invasion of privacy charge stemming from an explicit photo he allegedly took of a woman with whom he was having an affair. Meanwhile, Missouri Republican leaders have called for Greitens to resign – and are threatening impeachment if he does not step down.
Greitens has insisted that he will not resign, however – tweeting last week that “this matter will go to a court of law – where it belongs and where the facts will prove my innocence.”
He added, “Until then, I will do what the people of Missouri sent me here to do: to serve them and work hard on their behalf.”
A judge this week ruled against dismissing the governor’s first felony charge, all but ensuring that Greitens will indeed see his day in court.
But the governor might face further legal and political challenges, with Hawley and the St. Louis circuit attorney moving forward with their investigations into his conduct.
Attorneys for Greitens this week sought a temporary restraining order against Hawley’s investigation and the appointment of a special prosecutor, arguing that Hawley conflicted himself by calling for the governor to resign.
Meanwhile, a Missouri House committee has been engaged in a parallel probe, issuing a bombshell report last week detailing alleged sexual misconduct by Greitens toward the woman with whom he had an affair. That committee also plans to release findings concerning Greitens’ campaign’s use of the Mission Continues list.