For all the hell that Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has brought down on himself, it is hard not to see the political motivations driving his Democratic prosecutors.
Last week, a St. Louis grand jury indicted Greitens on one felony count of invasion of privacy. Greitens is accused of taking a compromising photo of a woman without her consent after she had willing allowed herself to be bound and blindfolded. In civil court, that might just be considered “contributory negligence.” In Democratic St. Louis, the blame shifts criminally to the Republican governor.
Prosecutors had asked for a Nov. 5 trial date. That just happens to be one day before the mid-term elections. With Greitens guilt or innocence of the charge uncertain, the effect would surely have been to suppress Republican votes and sway the undecided to vote Democrat.
The judge set a May trial date instead. He apparently gave little credence to the prosectors’ claim that they lacked adequate time to prepare their case against Greitens. Much may hinge on their ability to produce the compromising photo at the heart of the case.
According to the New York Times, Greitens’s attorney Edward Dowd claimed that prosecutors told him the photo did not exist. Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Steele countered that prosecutors had only said that they didn’t yet have the photo.
For his part, Greitens has admitted to the “affair,” such as it was, but denies that he threatened to reveal the photo to assure the woman’s silence. He believes the prosecution is politically motivated.
In an earlier editorial, the Sentinel agreed about the political motivation: “Yes, the phrase ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ seems almost comical when applied to a woman who allowed herself to be bound and blindfolded nude. And true, a St. Louis prosecutor and grand jury are capable of indicting a Republican governor on a felony charge of tearing the label off a mattress.”
“That said,” the editorial continued, “as politically-driven as the indictment likely was, the grand jury did Republicans in Missouri a favor. Legal or illegal, what Greitens did was beyond defense, morally or rationally. That is all that should matter. He has got to go. Even Democrats would have a hard time defending Greitens if he was still one of theirs.”