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Closed-door talks take place on Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens

Jack Suntrup, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in News & Features

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Temperatures hovered around freezing Wednesday morning, and mild wind gusts stirred the cold air. About 10 journalists shuffled around outside the Jefferson City Police Department.

The evening before, Jefferson City Republican state Rep. Jay Barnes, who is chairing a committee that ultimately could lead to the impeachment of Gov. Eric Greitens, told reporters that it would be "wasting your time" to try to get details on forthcoming secret committee hearings.

The first of those closed hearings was set for 8 a.m. Wednesday inside the Police Department. At about 12:15 p.m., Barnes and the other committee members exited the building. Asked who testified and whether the testimony would be released publicly, Barnes would not say.

"I love your doggedness," he said before driving away. "I think you're wasting your time asking questions. You're wasting my time asking questions. There will be a point in time at which you will know what you need to know."

A St. Louis grand jury last month handed up an indictment on a felony invasion of privacy charge against Greitens. He is accused of taking and transmitting a compromising, nonconsensual picture of his lover in March 2015. Mainstream news media have not named the woman at the center of the story, who has never agreed to an interview and may be the victim of a crime.

Her ex-husband in January released an audio recording he said he secretly recorded of his then-wife in 2015 in which she accuses Greitens of snapping the photograph. She said he threatened to release it if she spoke of their relationship.

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On Wednesday, Clayton lawyer Albert S. Watkins, who represents the ex-husband, said that one of his clients had been asked to testify before the House committee, though he declined to give more details.

"All I can tell you is a client has been asked," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

In addition to the ex-husband, Watkins also represents a former male stripper who is seeking a pardon from Greitens for his invasion of privacy conviction dating back two decades. Watkins said he no longer represents Eli Karabell, who said he volunteered for Greitens' inauguration festivities and had spoken with the FBI.

Outside the police station, Bob Watson, a 29-year veteran of the Jefferson City News Tribune, stood near the Police Department. He wore a sweater, a blazer and an overcoat.


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