KC attorney explains blackmail claims against Greitens

KC attorney explains blackmail claims against Greitens
Posted at 6:52 PM, Jan 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-12 19:52:16-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some Missouri Republican lawmakers confirmed Friday that they received personal phone calls from Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens; following Greitens' public admission this week that he had an affair in 2015 with his hair stylist.

Missouri State Sen. Andrew Koenig told 41 Action News that Greitens called him, apologized and denied allegations that he blackmailed his ex-lover. Kansas City criminal defense attorney Dan Ross said Greitens and investigators looking into claims of blackmail are facing challenges.

RELATED: Woman who had affair with Greitens asks for privacy

Ross explained that the audio tape of the Governor's former mistress that was released by the woman's ex-husband is likely the first thing investigators will want to check. The woman was talking during a counseling session with her then-husband when the recording was made. On the tape, you can hear the woman say:

"He (Greitens) stepped back and I saw a flash through the blindfold and he said, 'You're never going to mention my name otherwise there will be pictures of me everywhere.'" The woman said.

So far the Governor's former lover has not filed any legal action against Greitens. Ross said if she doesn't come forward, it would make it more difficult for prosecutors to prove blackmail.

"As a former prosecutor, you hope the alleged victim cooperates so you have a complete investigation. Is it essential? Is it necessary? Not necessarily," Ross explained.

Prosecutors are no-doubt doing everything in their power to find the alleged picture, in Greitens' basement, blindfolded, naked and restrained.

"If I'm law enforcement, I'm going to see if I can obtain or procure cell phones, whatever photographic mechanism might have been used. It's my experience it's very hard to remove completely memories from cell phones," Ross added. 

Ross went on to say that blackmail is not the only possible charge Greitens could face if the naked picture of his former lover really does exist.

"In Missouri, just taking the image without the consent constitutes presenting a misdemeanor. If you publish it, it kicks it up to a type of felony," Ross said.

If the woman's claim on the audio tape — that Greitens hit her is true, there's another possible crime.

"If the female or the person comes forward and says it was non-consensual and there was that kind of forced physical contact — at some level — that is a criminal assault if it was not provoked and not in some sort of self-defense," Ross concluded.

The criminal defense attorney said it's important to remember that Greitens is innocent until proven guilty. Ross added that if Greitens was his client, he would advise Greitens to stop talking about the affair, the alleged blackmail and anything related to the case.