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1 Charge Against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens Dropped As He Resigns From Office

Gov. Eric Greitens delivers the keynote address at a police memorial prayer breakfast on April 25, at the St. Charles Convention Center. Greitens has announced he will resign on Friday.
Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch
TNS via Getty Images
Gov. Eric Greitens delivers the keynote address at a police memorial prayer breakfast on April 25, at the St. Charles Convention Center. Greitens has announced he will resign on Friday.

Updated at 3:26 p.m. ET

Prosecutors have dropped one felony charge against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who will be will be resigning on Friday amid scandals about alleged misbehavior on the campaign trail and in the bedroom.

The governor's resignation was the result of a deal with prosecutors, who agreed to drop the charge if Greitens stepped down, St. Louis Public Radio reports.

The charge of computer tampering that was dismissed Wednesday stems from accusations of campaign finance violations — Greitens allegedly took a list of donors to his charity and improperly used it for fundraising. Prosecutors say they have enough evidence to convict Greitens but that his conviction wouldn't be worth pursuing after his resignation.

Greitens is also accused of taking a nude photo of a lover without her permission and using it to attempt to blackmail her into silence; a special prosecutor is currently deciding whether to refile charges in that case.

The deal that resulted in Greitens' resignation does not have any bearing on the special prosecutor's decision, according to St. Louis Public Radio.

State lawmakers have conducted an investigation into that blackmail charge, which uncovered allegations of sexual and physical abuse and led them to consider impeachment.

The governor has continued to deny any misconduct. "I have not broken any laws or committed any offense worthy of this treatment," he said Tuesday as he announced his resignation.

Greitens has called the charges against him a "witch hunt."

On Wednesday, as she announced that she was dropping the computer tampering charge, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner pushed back strongly against that characterization.

She said Greitens brought the charges on himself "by his actions, his statements, his decisions, his ambition and his pursuit for power," The Associated Press reports.

Gardner says she has enough evidence to pursue charges in the campaign finance case but that it's "not the right thing to do for our city or our state."

"If Mr. Greitens were convicted of this charge, it would be unlikely that he would be sentenced to prison, given his first-time-offender status and the type and level of the charge he faced," Gardner said at a press conference.

Gardner's statement did not acknowledge the agreement between prosecutors and Greitens' defense team, St. Louis Public Radio notes.

"Defense attorneys for Greitens contacted her office last weekend to strike a deal," Rachel Lippman of St. Louis Public Radio reports. In addition to the resignation and the dropping of the computer tampering charge, the deal also "prevents Greitens' attorneys from suing Gardner or any of her employees in civil court," Lippman says.

It does not prevent any other criminal charges, however, including the possibility of charges for Greitens over the sexual blackmail scandal.

Gardner originally brought charges against Greitens over that alleged misconduct, too — specifically, a felony violation of privacy charge.

The case did not go smoothly. Gardner and her team were accused of misconduct, including failing to turn over evidence and hiring a private investigator who allegedly lied under oath. A judge scolded the prosecutors but allowed the case to continue.

Then Greitens' lawyers said they planned to call Gardner as a witness — to be cross-examined by her own subordinates. Gardner's office decided to drop charges rather than be placed in that situation.

But that's not the end of the story. In dropping charges, Gardner's office announced plans to switch to a special prosecutor, rather than abandon the case entirely.

It's not clear when the special prosecutor will decide whether to refile those charges.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.