Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is admitting he had an extramarital affair but denies reports he threatened to blackmail the woman involved in the encounter.
The Missouri Republican and his wife issued a statement saying the affair took place before Greitens was elected governor.
“A few years ago, before Eric was elected Governor, there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage,” Greitens and his wife, Sheena, said in a joint statement. “This was a deeply personal mistake. Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately.”
Statement from James F. Bennett, our attorney pic.twitter.com/l4VreENKRT
Joint Statement from Sheena and I pic.twitter.com/t3DT6V0Gba
An additional statement from Sheena pic.twitter.com/rG92sVqp9M
While admitting the affair, Greitens denied reports he had attempted to blackmail the woman involved to keep her quiet.
The statements came after KMOT-TV reported the governor had a sexual encounter with his former hairdresser in 2015, a year before he was elected. The woman’s ex-husband told the network Greitens threatened her with photos taken during their encounter to keep the affair hidden.
“You’re never going to mention my name, otherwise there will be pictures of me (the woman) everywhere,” the woman, who has not been identified, told her husband on a recording.
Greiten’s attorney said the report contained multiple false allegations. The statements came just hours after Greitens, a former Navy SEAL who ran in part on a family values platform, delivered his annual State of the State address in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Greiten is the latest high-profile admission of infidelity by a state leader.
In 2017, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, also a Republican, resigned from office as part of plea deal related to campaign finance and ethics violations that emerged during an investigation into an extramarital relationship the married governor had with an adviser. Details of that relationship emerged after Gov. Bentley’s then-wife recorded an intimate phone conversation between the two.