KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Missouri’s governor is now a defendant in a second criminal case.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced Friday her office is charging Gov. Eric Greitens on a charge connected to his alleged use of a donor list from a charity for political gain.
The alleged crimes were first made public this week when Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced his investigation had uncovered possible criminal wrong-doing in the case.
In a statement late Friday, Hawley said his office is ready to help St. Louis Circuit attorneys "when appropriate."
"These are serious charges—and an important reminder that no one is above the law in Missouri," Hawley said in the statement.
In a statement released Friday evening, Greitens denied the latest charges and said his name will be cleared when he has his day in court.
The statements from both Greitens and his attorney can be read in full at the bottom of this story.
The governor's attorney, Ed Dowd, also released a statement saying, in part, "This charge makes no sense at all."
Court documents released Friday reveal the alleged crime occurred on April 22, 2015.
Greitens told a person to give a donor list from The Mission Continues, a charity founded by Greitens, to a political fundraiser working for Greitens’ campaign for governor.
According to the court document, the president of the charity told an investigator Greitens and the person who got the list did not have permission to use the list for political purposes.
Greitens and the person who obtained the list knew they did not have permission to use the donor list, the document states.
The governor allegedly told the person to e-mail the donor list to Greitens’s fundraiser.
The new charge is on top of a felony invasion of privacy charge against the governor filed earlier this year.
A judge ruled this week the invasion of privacy charge can continue to trial, set for May 14.
House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty also released a statement urging legislators to move forward with the impeachment process she began last week.
“One way or another, Eric Greitens’ short tenure as Missouri governor is about to end. The only person who doesn’t understand that is Eric Greitens. Since he will not resign, the House of Representatives must immediately begin impeachment proceedings. This is far too important to delay to special session a month or more from now," said Beatty in a statement.
Greitens released the following statement after the charges were released:
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. And she is using thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars to do all of this.
Her 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.
The governor's attorney, Ed Dowd, released a separate statement Friday:
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.