Missouri Governor Eric Greitens Resigns

Eric Greitens / Getty Images
Eric Greitens / Getty Images

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R.) resigned from office Tuesday following months of legal and political drama that unfurled following an extramarital affair and allegations of blackmail.

Greitens, announcing his resignation, said the accusations and prosecution were "designed" to put strain on his family.

"This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family. Millions of dollars in mounting legal bills, endless personal attacks designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends," Greitens said.

"But I have not broken any laws or committed any offense worthy of this treatment," he said.

The controversy started in January when the ex-husband of Greitens' mistress provided an audio recording to St. Louis station KMOV-TV and alleged Greitens took a photo of the woman bound, blindfolded, and partially undressed without her consent. The ex-husband claimed – and the woman later agreed with his account – that Greitens threatened to make the photo public if she ever told anyone about the affair.

Greitens denied the blackmail accusation but admitted to the affair. The story, however, did not go away, and Greitens was indicted on felony invasion of privacy in February.

In March, a House committee investigating the governor as a precursor to impeachment released a 25-page report that detailed the alleged blackmailing. It alleged, based on the woman's sworn testimony, that Greitens coerced her into oral sex while she wept "uncontrollably." The report led to high-level Missouri Republicans, including Republican Senate candidate and state Attorney General Josh Hawley to call on the governor to resign or face impeachment.

The blackmail allegations were only the start of the scandal-laden months to follow, the Kansas City Star reported.

The St. Louis prosecutor charged Greitens with a second felony — computer tampering — over the allegations that Greitens had stolen charity donor list and misused it to raise money for his 2016 campaign.

Along the way, Greitens was accused of using a self-destructing text message app called Confide to circumvent the state's open records laws.

He was accused by former campaign staff of exploring the idea of raising money from foreign donors, which would violate a federal law that prohibits campaigns from knowingly accepted money from foreign nationals.

He was accused of using shell companies to filter donations to his campaign to hide the source of the money.

Most recently, he was accused of using his political nonprofit, A New Missouri Inc., to illegally circumvent the state's campaign disclosure laws.

Coming into office this year, Greitens had an all-star resume as a Rhodes scholar, Navy SEAL officer, and a recipient of both a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He was widely expected to make a presidential run in the future.

Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, a fellow Republican who served 11 years in the General Assembly, will serve as the state's governor through the end of Grietens' term, which runs until January 2021.

Watch Greitens' resignation announcement: