Facing criminal investigations, a legislative effort to consider disciplinary action against him and calls from lawmakers for his resignation, Gov. Eric Greitens refused for months to cede any ground in the fight for his political career.
That all changed Tuesday, when the governor announced he would resign from office effective 5 p.m. Friday.
The announcement follows months of public turmoil that led to felony charges against the governor and dominated attention in the Missouri Capitol.
Greitens, a Republican, said Tuesday he has not committed any crime, and that the “fairness of this process” that led to his resignation would “be judged by history.”
“This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain on my family,” he said, citing “millions of dollars in mounting legal bills” and “endless personal attacks designed to cause maximum damage to family and friends.”
Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, also a Republican, will replace Greitens as governor.
A nonprofit leader and former Navy SEAL, Greitens was elected governor in 2016. He touted himself as a political outsider who would root out corruption in Jefferson City.
He was viewed as a rising star in the Republican party and harbored ambitions of becoming president.
Things began to unravel in January, when Greitens admitted to a 2015 extramarital affair but denied allegations that he had photographed his sexual partner without her consent or attempted to blackmail the woman. That incident led to felony charges of invasion of privacy.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner dropped her prosecution Greitens earlier this month, but Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, who was named special prosecutor in the case, is continuing her investigation, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Greitens later was charged with a second felony, tampering, stemming from his alleged use of a nonprofit donor list for political fundraising purposes.