Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Wednesday night acknowledged that he's been "unfaithful'' in his marriage but denies allegations that he blackmailed the woman he had an extramarital affair with to stay quiet.
The Republican governor and his wife released a statement after a report by St. Louis television station KMOV said he had an extramarital affair with his former hairdresser in 2015. The report, released late Wednesday after Greitens gave his State of the State address, said the woman's ex-husband alleged Greitens photographed her nude and threatened to publicize the images if she spoke about the affair.
"A few years ago, before Eric was elected Governor, there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage,'' the statement from Greitens and his wife, Sheena, said. "This was a deeply personal mistake. Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately.''
The woman allegedly involved did not comment on the record to the station, which did not name her. But her ex-husband, who also was not named, provided an audio recording he made to KMOV in which the woman gives details about a sexual encounter she says she had with Greitens in March 2015 at his St. Louis home. The woman did not know her then-husband was recording their conversation.
The encounter that allegedly occurred in March 2015 came after Greitens opened a committee to explore a bid for Missouri governor but before he officially announced his candidacy.
In the recording, the woman said Greitens told her "you're never going to mention my name, otherwise there will be pictures of me everywhere.''
The statement from Greitens and his wife doesn't address the affair specifically or the allegations, but in a separate statement Greitens' attorney, Jim Bennett, said, "There was no blackmail and that claim is false.''
Al Watkins, an attorney for the ex-husband of the woman who allegedly had the affair with Greitens, said they tried to reconcile after the March 2015 incident but that the affair with Greitens continued for several months and led to their breakup.
The man told KMOV that he believed the story would eventually be made public and he wanted to protect his family.