Ex-wife of Missouri GOP Senate candidate Eric Greitens accuses him of domestic violence

The ex-wife of Eric Greitensformer Missouri governor and current Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, alleged he was physically abusive and “unstable,” according to court filings Monday.

Sheena Greitens has been part of an ongoing custody battle with Eric Greitens and filed a sworn affidavit on Monday accusing the former governor of abusing her and their children.

“Before our divorce, during an argument in late April 2018, Eric ran over me and confiscated my cell phone, wallet and keys so I couldn’t call for help or extricate myself and our children. of our home,” the affidavit said. “In early June 2018, I feared for my safety and that of our children in our home, which was quite isolated, due to Eric’s unstable and coercive behavior. This behavior included physical abuse of our children, such as handcuffing our three-year-old sons across the face at dinner in front of me and pulling him by the hair.”

Their divorce was finalized in May 2020 and a county court ruling said the marriage was “irretrievably broken” and a joint parenting plan is “in progress”. [the] the best interests of minor children.” However, now Eric Greitens says he wants full custody of both children.

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Missouri Governor Eric Greitens delivers a statement Wednesday, April 11, 2018.

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Sheena Greitens pushed for jurisdiction over the case to be transferred to Travis County Court in Texas because she said their children had spent most of their time in recent years in Austin, and she said that ‘she feared Eric Greitens would use her platform as a Senate candidate. in Missouri to attack him, according to the affidavit. She accepted an associate professor position at the University of Texas in 2020.

In one declarationEric Greitens blasted his ex-wife’s accusations and said ‘at the end of the day the truth will always prevail’.

“I will continue to love and care for my beautiful sons with my whole being, and that includes fighting for the truth and against completely fabricated and baseless allegations,” Greitens said. “I am seeking full custody of my sons, and for them I will continue to pray for their mother and hope she gets the help she needs.”

Greitens’ campaign said in a statement that the affidavit was part of a “politically motivated attack.”

“His children deserve a father who will speak the truth and stand up to malicious attacks that are clearly politically motivated. This attack is nothing more than a sad attempt to force a father to hand over custody of his children to a disturbed individual,” the campaign said. noted.

Greitens was once considered a rising star in the party and had served just over a year as governor of Missouri before taking over. resigned in 2018 after allegations of sexual misconduct and blackmail for allegedly take a picture of his former hairdresser with whom he had an affair, as well as an ethics investigation and a criminal charge of falsifying computer data.

The woman told a Missouri House Select Committee that she believed Greitens had photographed her naked without her consent before he was elected governor and threatened to blackmail the woman if she spoke about the matter. Eric Greitens acknowledged the affair and called it consensual, but denied taking the picture and the blackmail charge. No photos were found on his cell phone. Prosecutors dropped a privacy invasion charge related to the alleged May 2018 incident.

Also in 2018, St. Louis circuit attorney Kim Gardner charged Greitens with falsification of computer data due to an accusation that he used a list of donors from a charity he founded for his 2016 campaign for governor. That charge was dropped in May 2018.

The ethics investigation concluded in 2020, concluding that while Greitens is responsible for his campaign’s errors in failing to report two significant campaign donations, the investigation found “no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of of Eric Greitens, individually”. Greitens announced he would run for the Senate in March 2021.

In her affidavit, Sheena Greitens alleged that “Eric’s behavior also included threats to compel me to do or refrain from saying or doing certain things.”

“After Eric admitted to me in late January 2021 that he had taken the photo that resulted in the privacy breach, he threatened to expose me to legal action if I ever revealed this fact to anyone. either, even to my family members or a therapist,” the affidavit states.

Sheena Greteins’ affidavit also alleged that in the early summer of 2018, “Eric repeatedly threatened to kill himself unless I provided him with specific public support.” She said she and others tried to limit Eric’s access to guns “on at least three occasions” in 2018. After Eric Greitens allegedly refused to disclose the location of the gun in June 2018, Sheena said in the affidavit that she “started sleeping in my kids’ room just to try to keep them safe.”

The affidavit also states that Eric Greitens threatened to charge Sheena with child abuse if she did not delete emails sent to her therapist regarding Eric’s behavior. He also says Eric called her “despicable, disgusting, mean and vicious” and a “lying menace” while accusing her of providing information to prosecutors investigating him and to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Following the call, Sheena Greitens said she tried to take their children to her parents’ home “out of lingering fear for our safety”.

“When I told Eric about my plans, he threatened to come to the airport and have me arrested for kidnapping and child abuse, saying that because of his authority as a former governor who had supported law enforcement, the police would support him and not believe me, and I would lose our children,” the affidavit states.

Sheena Greitens also said that in November 2019 their son Joshua returned from a visit with Eric “with a swollen face, bleeding gums and a loose tooth”. Joshua “said dad hit him” while Eric “said they were fighting and it was an accident,” according to the affidavit. The tooth was surgically extracted in May 2020.

“Missouri court rules governing the conduct of divorced parties toward each other strongly encourage spouses to timely disclose to the court any factual and genuine concerns regarding matters such as the allegations contained in the affidavit no asked by the mother at the first opportunity before a divorce judgment is entered,” Eric Greitens’ attorney Gary Stamper said in a statement emailed to CBS News.

“A neutral observer might conclude that Mother’s admitted silence through the discord common to failed marriages, while simultaneously concocting an advantageous strategy to circumvent a previously agreed upon court order, suggests that his motivation may be less than honourable,” he added. confirms the wisdom of Mark Twain: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth wears its shoes.” The only audience that matters now is the judge who approved the parties’ agreement and has the power to change it.”

After the affidavit was announced, Stamper filed a request to have the case’s records and proceedings sealed, saying the documents would cause “irreparable harm” to Greitens’ reputation and that his “interest in protecting his reputation and his standing in the community in the face of such inflammatory allegations outweighs the public interest in opening state and county records.” In that motion, Stamper denied the truth of the allegations. presented in the affidavit of Sheena Greitens.

Eric Greitens is among a crowded group of Republicans seeking to succeed retired Republican Senator Roy Blunt. Also on the court are Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Representatives Billy Long and Vicky Hartzler, as well as Mark McCloskey, a St. Louis personal injury attorney. best known for brandishing guns at protesters near his home in the summer of 2020.

A late February poll by the Republican-leaning Trafalgar Group showed Greitens leading the GOP primary field. Some Republicans have expressed concern that if Greitens wins the GOP nomination, it could make the seat more competitive in an otherwise likely Republican state. Former President Donald Trump won the state by more than 15 points in 2020.

Hartzler called on Eric Greitens to drop out of the U.S. Senate race and “seek immediate professional help,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Schmitt, Long and Lucas Kunce, a Marine and Democratic candidate in the race, also called on Greitens to step down.

“He is unfit to serve,” Kunce said. “I agree with Vicky Hartzler that he should immediately retire from the race.”

“The behavior described in this affidavit is the reason Eric Greitens is in jail, not on the US Senate ballot. He should end his campaign immediately,” Schmitt tweeted.

Republican Senator Josh Hawley, who backed Hartzler, also called Greitens abandons the race.

The Missouri primary is scheduled for August 2. The deadline for submitting applications for the primary is March 29, 2022.

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