The felony criminal charges against Eric Greitens are multiplying, but the embattled Republican governor of the “Show Me State” still doesn’t appear to be willing to step down.
Greitens was charged on Friday with computer tampering in connection with the political use prior to the 2016 election of a donor list from a veterans’ charity he founded, The Kansas City Star reported.
The announcement of Greitens’ second felony charge in as many months did not come as a surprise, as earlier this week, MO Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican who is running for the U.S. Senate, said his office had “uncovered evidence of wrongdoing that goes beyond charity laws.”
According to the Star, computer tampering carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison. Greitens, who turned 44 this month and is serving his first term as governor, denied the latest charge. The former Navy SEAL responded to the news by going after St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.
“By now, everyone knows what this is: this prosecutor will use any charge she can to smear me,” the governor said, according to the newspaper.
A 2016 investigation by the Associated Press found that Greitens received some $2 million from donors who had previously given to The Mission Continues, the veterans’ charity Greitens founded. The overlap, AP noted, “was especially beneficial during the crucial startup of his campaign.”
The governor already had been indicted and arrested in February on felony invasion of privacy charges. In that case, a woman with whom Greitens had an extramarital affair accused him of binding, blindfolding, assaulting, and taking semi–nude photos of her with which the governor then allegedly blackmailed her.
A judge on Thursday allowed that trial to move forward, likely next month.
Earlier in April, a state House special investigative committee composed mostly of Republicans released a report with troubling testimony by the woman. Since then, several state lawmakers have called for Greitens’ resignation or impeachment.
Greitens continues to deny all of the allegations, saying his relationship with the woman was consensual, and that his legal woes are the result of a conspiracy against him by the progressive billionaire George Soros.
In response to the state attorney general’s news conference earlier this week, Greitens called his latest legal troubles “ridiculous” and repeated the Soros conspiracy claims.
“We will dispense with these false allegations,” the governor said in a statement.
Following Friday’s announcement of a new felony charge, Greitens’ attorney said in a statement, “Now he’s being accused of stealing an email list from an organization he built? Give me a break.”
If state lawmakers do decide to move forward with impeachment proceedings—which is a long shot—Greitens would become Missouri’s first sitting governor to be impeached.