The governor of Missouri has been indicted by a grand jury and taken into custody following reports that he used a dirty photo to blackmail his lover.
Governor Eric Greitens was taken into custody around 3:45 p.m. and booked at the St. Louis Justice Center, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Greitens, 43, was charged with invasion of privacy and violating a Missouri statute, which makes it a felony to transmit images contained in photographs or film in a manner that gives someone access to that image via a computer or cellular device.
He allegedly snapped a pic of his former hairdresser — whom he was sleeping with — on March 21, 2015 while she was bound, blindfolded and partly undressed. The woman claims he kept the photo and threatened to release it if she ever mentioned their relationship to anyone.
The governor was charged Thursday after it was alleged that he had followed through on his threat to release the photos.
“As I have stated before, it is essential for residents of the city of St Louis and our state to have confidence in their leaders,” a statement from the office of St Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberley M Gardner said.
The crime carries a sentence of up to four years in prison.
A married republican, Greitens has admitted to having the affair, but strongly denied the blackmail allegations.
“In forty years of public and private practice, I have never seen anything like this,” Greitens’ lawyer, Edward Dowd, Jr., said Thursday in response to his indictment.
“The charges against my client are baseless and unfounded,” he added. “My client is absolutely innocent. We will be filing a motion to dismiss.”