On the scale from Al Franken creepiness to Harvey Weinstein rapey-ness, this is way down towards the Weinstein end.
If you’re unfamiliar with the basics of this, read Ed’s and John’s posts about it from this winter. Nominally this is an invasion of privacy case: The woman with whom Greitens, a Republican in his second year as governor, had an affair told her now ex-husband in a phone call that Greitens snapped a cell-phone photo of her when she was tied up and threatened to publicize it if she told anyone about their relationship. Unbeknownst to the woman, her ex was taping the call and later shared it with the media. Is Eric Greitens guilty of trying to extort his lover into silence with revenge porn?
Or is he guilty of something much worse?
The oversight committee of the Missouri state legislature released its report today, featuring firsthand testimony from the woman herself. She says in one incident he taped her hands to pull-up rings in his basement and blindfolded her, and then:
She’s not sure that he took a photo but claims Greitens then told her not to mention his name or else everyone would see “these pictures” and know what “a little whore” she is. The mechanics of that don’t make total sense to me: If his goal was to keep the affair secret and deniable, how would circulating a photo of her tied up in *his* basement accomplish that if she blabbed? Would she even be recognizable in the photo with the blindfold on?
But we needn’t nitpick. The point was to intimidate her. Still, that’s not the worst part. This is the worst part:
She claimed that he hit her on three different occasions. The committee, which is chaired by a Republican and counts five Republicans among its seven members, said that it finds her credible. “The committee also interviewed two of the woman’s friends who say she told them a similar story at the time, as well as the woman’s ex-husband,” noted the Kansas City Star. And remember, this all started with a phone recording between two intimates, the woman and her ex-husband, with the woman not realizing that she was being recorded. What incentive would she have had to lie on the call?
Greitens’s trial for invasion of privacy begins on May 14 but his more immediate concern is impeachment:
NEW: Calling the Greitens report “beyond disturbing” and declaring that the investigation is “not a witch hunt,” Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson says the chamber will hold a special session to consider recommendations on impeachment from committee
— Gabe Fleisher (@WakeUp2Politics) April 11, 2018
If the Republican-led oversight committee believes the woman, on what grounds would the Republican-led decline to remove him for coercing sex from a woman trapped in his basement? There may not be enough evidence of coercion to prosecute him for sexual assault but impeachment is a political remedy, not a legal one. Here he is this afternoon, insisting that the entire process is a witch hunt even though it’s been led by Republicans. Which seems oddly familiar.