An explosive scandal in Missouri erupted last night in which the tamest part was an extramarital affair. Governor Eric Greitens, the subject of presidential speculation in GOP circles, admitted to the affair after KMOV reported on it yesterday, but Greitens has bigger worries. According to a secret recording made by the former husband of his paramour, Greitens threatened her with revenge porn if she ever spoke about the affair:

KMOV.com

Governor Eric Greitens on Wednesday night confirmed to News 4 he had an extramarital affair, an admission a months-long News 4 investigation prompted.

In a recording obtained by News 4, a woman says she had a sexual encounter with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and that he tried to blackmail her to keep the encounter quiet.

The details were provided to News 4 by the woman’s ex-husband, claiming the sexual relationship happened between his now ex-wife and Greitens in March 2015. News 4 is not naming the woman and she has not made an on-the-record comment about the story.

Greitens, for his part, issued an angry denial late last night — about the extortion:

The ex-husband gave KMOV a tape he made without his wife’s knowledge when she confessed in a phone conversation the details of her first encounter with the then-gubernatorial hopeful. She told him that Greitens used some light bondage during their sexual encounter, including a blindfold — and then took a picture without her consent. Greitens then told her that if she talked about their affair, he’d publish the photo:

Woman: “He said: “I’ll make you feel better. I’ll make you feel good. Come downstairs. I want to show you how to do a proper pull-up. And I knew he was being sexual and I still let him. And he used some sort of tape, I don’t what it was, and taped my hands to these rings and then put a blindfold on me.”

Woman: “I didn’t even know. I feel like I don’t even know. I was just numb. I just stood there and didn’t (expletive) know.”

Woman: “He stepped back, I saw a flash through the blindfold and he said: “you’re never going to mention my name, otherwise there will be pictures of me everywhere.”

According to the story, Greitens apologized after their encounter and claimed that he’d deleted the photo. The woman told her then-husband that the two had another sexual encounter later and continued to stay in contact for a while afterward until she asked Greitens to stop contacting her. Greitens admits to the affair but denies any attempt at extortion, and claims that the story has “multiple false allegations.” However, the woman never says that Greitens followed through on his threat, either, and Greitens never specifically denies the photo claim.

The problem for Greitens is that the woman’s claim was never meant to go public at all; she didn’t even realize that the conversation was being recorded. So why would she lie about it, especially in the admission to her husband? If one wants to start with an assumption that the story is false, perhaps the woman might have wanted to prevent her husband from going public at that time with the story and making it front-page news in Missouri. However, that seems rather thin as an explanation for telling such an in-depth and humiliating admission. It would have been easier for her to just say that they had consensual sex and it was a mistake.

Sex scandals don’t pack the political punch they once did, at least in some areas of the country, but …. Missouri might not be one of those areas. Greitens got elected in part on his background as a Navy SEAL and family man with old-fashioned values. He won’t run again until 2020, but if the potential extortion part of this story picks up steam, re-election may be the least of his worries.