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The lawyer who got $120,000 to bring down Missouri's GOP governor says he was told it came from a wealthy Republican

Matt Pearce, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

In Missouri, Republican Gov. Eric Greitens faces almost too many threats to count: A mistress accusing Greitens of sexual blackmail. An ex-husband who leaked her story to the media. A newspaper publisher who funneled cash to the ex-husband's lawyer. A mysterious Republican financier who wants to bring down the governor and may be the source of the cash.

And don't forget the state Legislature threatening impeachment and a St. Louis prosecutor threatening imprisonment.

Welcome to politics in the Show-Me State, where power is often wielded in secret, and often with cash.

On Friday, the Missouri state Legislature is expected to convene a special session to decide whether to remove Greitens from office over his treatment of his mistress and his handling of campaign contributions.

In one criminal case pending in St. Louis circuit court, Greitens has been accused of stealing a list of donors from his nonpartisan charity, the Mission Continues, to solicit donations for his political campaign. He has denied criminal wrongdoing.

In the most explosive scandal, Greitens has been accused of tying up his hairdresser in 2015, stripping off her clothes, photographing her naked without her consent and threatening to release the image if she told anyone about their affair.

His attorneys argued that prosecutors in St. Louis mishandled the investigation, resulting in a criminal case being dropped Monday. Charges could be refiled by a special prosecutor.

Greitens has admitted to the affair but denies taking the photo or threatening blackmail.

The scandal only came to light because the woman's ex-husband (whom the Los Angeles Times is not naming in order to protect his ex-wife's identity) and a St. Louis lawyer named Al Watkins gave the media private recordings of the woman talking about Greitens.

Watkins, it turns out, wasn't just working for the ex-husband.


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