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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a Duke alum, resigns amid controversy

Eric Greitens, Trinity ‘96, announced his resignation as governor of Missouri in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

He said that his resignation will be effective June 1 at 5:00 p.m. Lieutenant Governor Mark Parsons, a Republican, will take over. 

"I came to office to fight for the people of Missouri, to fight for the forgotten," Greitens said. "I love Missouri and I love our people. The love remains."

The Republican governor has drawn national attention in recent months after it broke that he was facing a grand jury investigation for allegedly blackmailing a woman he had an affair with in 2015. 

He was later indicted in February on a charge of invasion of privacy, and it was announced May 14 that the felony charge was being dropped—although a special prosecutor was considering re-filing a criminal case against him.

A Missouri House committee was mulling bringing impeachment proceedings against him. 

Hours after Greiten's announcement Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that the office of the St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner announced it has reached a "fair and just resolution" for the charges against him. Wednesday, the prosecutor announced her office would dismiss the felony charge of computer tampering Greitens still faced. He was indicted on the felony charge, which was filed in April against him for allegedly using a nonprofit donor list from his charity, The Mission Continues, for fundraising in his 2016 campaign. 

At Duke, Greitens was a Program II major, Angier B. Duke Scholar and a Rhodes Scholar. He served in the military as a Navy Seal, and won the governor's race by six points in 2016 and assumed the office in January 2017.

The 2015 affair first came to light through the publishing of a recording by the husband of the woman involved in the affair in which she recounts the encounter. In the recording, she alleges that Greitens took a picture of her so that he could it as "blackmail." Greitens has admitted to having the affair, but denies the allegations of blackmail, saying that he made a "personal mistake" but did not commit a crime. 

In his Tuesday press conference, he thanked the people who have worked alongside him in his role.

“The last few months have been incredibly difficult for me, for my family, for my team, for my friends and for many, many people that I love," the governor said. "This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family."

Greitens referenced millions of dollars of mounting legal bills, legal harassment against friends and family and personal attacks "designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends." The embattled governor was adamant that he had not broken any laws. 

"And it is clear for the forces that oppose us there is no end in sight. I cannot allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty to the people that I love. I know and people of good faith know that I am not perfect, but I have not broken any laws or committed any offense worthy of this treatment. I will let the fairness of this process be judged by history," Greitens said. "It has been a great honor and a privilege to serve as your governor."

Editor's note: This article was updated Wednesday afternoon to include the dismissal of the felony charge.


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