Navy SEAL veteran, a top Missouri GOP Senate candidate, faces allegations of abuse in child-custody case

todayMarch 22, 2022

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Then-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens attends an occasion close to the capitol in Jefferson Metropolis, Mo. on Could 17, 2018. Greitens’ ex-wife has accused him of bodily abuse, in response to an affidavit filed Monday, March 21, 2022, within the former couple’s baby custody case in Missouri. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, now a number one Republican Senate candidate, was bodily abusive and demonstrated such “unstable and coercive conduct” that steps had been taken to restrict his entry to firearms, in response to new allegations from his ex-wife revealed in court docket data.

A sworn affidavit from Sheena Greitens and filed Monday is a part of an ongoing baby custody dispute in Missouri. A public affairs professor on the College of Texas, she sought divorce from Eric Greitens after a intercourse scandal which led to his resignation as governor in June 2018. She’s now asking the court docket to maneuver the custody case to the Austin space, partly to spare her youngsters from renewed public consideration as Eric Greitens tries to mount a political comeback.

Eric Greitens known as the allegations “fully fabricated” and “baseless.”

“I’m in search of full custody of my sons, and for his or her sake, I’ll proceed to wish for his or her mom and hope that she will get the assistance that she wants,” he mentioned in an announcement issued from his Twitter account.

His lawyer on Monday requested a choose to dam the affidavit from public view, saying open entry may trigger “irreparable hurt to his popularity and his candidacy.”

An lawyer for Sheena Greitens didn’t reply to a message in search of remark.

The allegations may complicate his bid to emerge from Missouri’s Aug. 2 main because the GOP nominee and probably jeopardize his occasion’s likelihood to carry onto a key Senate seat within the common election.

Within the affidavit, Sheena Greitens casts her ex-husband as somebody who threatened to make use of his political connections and affect as a way to destroy her popularity to win custody of the youngsters.

“Previous to our divorce, throughout an argument in late April 2018, Eric knocked me down and confiscated my mobile phone, pockets and keys in order that I used to be unable to name for assist or extricate myself and our youngsters from our dwelling,” Sheena Greitens wrote within the submitting. “I grew to become afraid for my security and that of our youngsters at our dwelling,” later including that his “conduct included bodily violence towards our youngsters, resembling cuffing our then-3-year-old son throughout the face on the dinner desk in entrance of me and yanking him round by his hair.”

In 2019, considered one of her sons got here dwelling from a go to together with his dad “with a swollen face, bleeding gums and free tooth,” she mentioned.

“He mentioned Dad had hit him; nonetheless, Eric mentioned they had been roughhousing and it had been an accident,” Sheena Greitens wrote, including that the tooth finally needed to be eliminated.

As soon as a swing state, Missouri has turn out to be extra reliably Republican in recent times. However the race to succeed retiring Sen. Roy Blunt is nonetheless receiving nationwide consideration as a result of some within the GOP institution are anxious that, with the allegations launched on Monday and former scandals, Greitens would face vulnerabilities towards a Democrat. And with the Senate evenly divided, the GOP cannot afford to lose what would in any other case be a protected seat.

Different candidates within the race on Monday known as for Greitens to finish his marketing campaign.

“Actual males by no means abuse ladies and youngsters. Interval, finish of story,” GOP U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler mentioned in a recorded assertion posted on Twitter. “It is time for Eric to get out of the Senate race and to get skilled assist.”

Missouri’s Republican Legal professional Common Eric Schmitt, who can be operating, tweeted: “The conduct described on this affidavit is trigger for Eric Greitens to be in jail, not on the poll for U.S. Senate.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican who will turn out to be Missouri’s senior senator when Blunt steps down, additionally mentioned it was “time for Eric Greitens to depart this race.”

“For those who hit a lady or a toddler, you belong in handcuffs, not america Senate,” he tweeted.

Greitens was a rising GOP star after his 2016 election, a charismatic former Navy SEAL officer and Rhodes Scholar who based a nonprofit benefiting veterans. He did not disguise his ambition, both, reserving the web site

However that every one appeared to fade after he was indicted on an invasion-of-privacy cost in February 2018 in St. Louis, accused of taking a compromising photograph of his hairstylist with out her consent throughout a 2015 extramarital affair. Briefly order, a Missouri Home committee started investigating marketing campaign finance points, and Greitens confronted a second felony cost in St. Louis.

Eric Greitens largely saved a low profile after his resignation in 2018. That modified final 12 months after the Missouri Ethics Fee discovered possible trigger” that Greitens’ marketing campaign broke marketing campaign finance regulation, but in addition “discovered no proof of any wrongdoing on the a part of Eric Greitens, individually.”

Greitens mentioned the ruling “absolutely exonerated” him.

Sheena Greitens’ affidavit, nonetheless, affords a bleak image of his waning days as governor. At one level, she mentioned, Eric Greitens bought a gun however refused to inform her the place it was. He additionally threatened to kill himself “except I offered particular public political assist,” she wrote.

The conduct was so alarming, she wrote, that on three separate events in February, April and Could 2018, “a number of individuals apart from myself had been anxious sufficient to intervene to restrict Eric’s entry to firearms.”

“I began sleeping in my youngsters’s room merely to attempt to preserve them protected,” she wrote.

At one level, Eric Greitens made a reference to the truth that he had the youngsters — and she or he did not — whereas making an attempt to steer Sheena Greitens to delete emails she had despatched to the household therapist in search of assist, in response to the affidavit.

“Eric threatened to accuse me of kid abuse if I didn’t delete the emails and persuade the therapist to delete them,” she wrote.

She additionally mentioned that in the identical cellphone name, Eric Greitens berated her as a “hateful, disgusting, nasty, vicious … mendacity b – – – h” whereas accusing her of offering details about him to prosecutors and the St. Louis Put up-Dispatch newspaper.

Just a few weeks later, he grew indignant and confronted her when she tried to fly with the youngsters to her mother and father’ home, she mentioned.

He “threatened to return to the airport and have me arrested for kidnapping and baby abuse, saying that due to his authority as a former governor who had supported regulation enforcement, the police would assist him and never imagine me.”

In 2020, after informing Eric Greitens that she accepted a job on the College of Texas, she mentioned he threatened “to make use of his political affect to get my job provide revoked.”

Her ex-husband’s reemergence in politics has been taxing, Sheena Greitens mentioned within the affidavit. In the meantime, his previous capability to affect regulation enforcement and appoint judges, in addition to the even higher energy he would receive as a senator are “extraordinarily intimidating,” she wrote.

“Now that Eric is a candidate for federal workplace, public curiosity in my life, my relationship with Eric and the breakdown thereof, and the existence of problems with custody between Eric and me are being re-kindled and introduced again into central public dialogue,” Sheena Greitens wrote.

“The burden of those information and the intimidation they trigger” justifies transferring the case to Texas, she wrote, the place “the attain of his energy and affect is considerably much less.”


Slodysko reported from Washington.

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