KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has officially resigned.
Greitens made the announcement inside the governor’s office Tuesday afternoon. His resignation will be effective Friday, June 1.
Lt. Gov. Mike Parson will serve as governor for the remainder of Greitens’s term. Parson said in a statement that he is "ready to fulfill the duties of the office with honor and integrity."
Greitens said he decided to resign because of the pain the various allegations against him caused his family and friends. He said it's time to allow healing to begin.
He also stated that he has broken no law or "committed no offense worthy of this treatment."
EMERGENCY PODCAST: 41 Action News Reporters Steven Dial and Tom Dempsey try to make sense of today's stunning development:
Greitens's announcement comes shortly after a judge ordered a pro-Greitens group, A New Missouri, to comply with a subpoena ordering them to turn over documents related to Greitens’s campaign for governor. The subpoenas focus on alleged efforts to conceal donations used to benefit Greitens.
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Missouri state representatives Gail McCann Beatty and DaRon McGee believe the ruling to turn over documents to the special committee was the final straw. McCann Beatty said, "It was more of information that may have come out as it relates to New Missouri. I think that potentially could have been very damaging for the governor as well."
McGee added that, "Once he resigns, he's no longer bound by the subpoenas as a non-elected official and he can fight off turning those documents over as a private citizen so I'm not surprised."
A special Missouri House committee has been investigating a variety of allegations against Greitens, including sexual misconduct and misuse of a veterans' charity donor list for his political campaign.
An invasion of privacy charge against Greitens was recently dropped. Greitens is accused of taking a compromising photo of a woman he admitted to having an affair with in an attempt to blackmail her.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has been appointed as a special prosecutor in the case and it’s possible she could re-file charges. Peters Baker said in a statement that her office's investigation continues. "In the interest of pursuing justice to its fullest lengths, we will continue until our work on the case is completed."
Greitens still faces a felony charge of computer data tampering. He's accused of using a donor list from a charity he founded, The Mission Continues, for political gain.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner released a statement Tuesday saying she has been in contact with Greitens's defense team over the last few days; "We have reached a fair and just resolution of the pending charges."
Gardner said she would release more information Wednesday.
Statements on Greitens's resignation
Lt. Gov. Mike Parson said in a statement that Greitens's decision to resign was in the best interest of the state and that he is ready to take over as governor.
“With Governor Greitens’ decision to resign from office, he has put the best interests of our state and all Missourians at the forefront where they belong. This is a decision that will allow our state to heal and move forward from what has been a difficult time. This is an enormous responsibility serving as our state’s next governor, and I am ready to fulfill the duties of the office with honor and integrity, and with a steadfast commitment to making our great state even greater for the people we are entrusted to serve.”
House Speaker Todd Richardson, Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, and Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo released a joint statement praising the governor for his decision to resign:
“We believe the Governor has put the best interest of Missourians first today by choosing to resign. The past few months have been difficult for everyone involved, including the Governor and his family. This is a serious and solemn occasion that reminds us that our state and our duty are bigger than any one person or party.
The House stands ready to help ensure a smooth transition of power to Governor Parson. The hallmark of democracy is that our public service is temporary. Missouri has been blessed with an unbroken line of men and women in public service who have worked to make our state better, and the work of the many dedicated public servants, who work tirelessly for the people of Missouri, will continue.
The responsibility the House undertook with its investigation is not a path any of us would have chosen, but it is one we were obligated to pursue in an effort to do what is best for our state. We want to thank the members of the Special Investigative Committee on Oversight for the serious and professional manner in which they went about their task. We also want to thank the staff for the countless hours and sacrifices they made.
As public servants, our solemn duty is to put the best interests of the people of this great state first in every decision we make. The Governor’s decision today honors that duty and allows Missouri to move forward toward a better tomorrow.”
Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway said Greitens's resignation gives Missouri a chance to restore its reputation.
"Corruption in state government became worse than ever under Eric Greitens," Galloway said in a statement to 41 Action News. "That corruption must be cleaned up, and our state's reputation must be restored. This can only happen if leaders put the needs of Missourians ahead of themselves."
House Minority Lead Gail McCann Beatty also celebrated the move Tuesday.
"The brief and deeply troubled term of Eric Greitens is a case study for why Missouri's highest elected office is no place for beginners," Beatty said in a statement. "Gov. Mike Parson possesses the integrity his predecessor lacked, and House Democrats will offer him whatever assistance we can as he begins the difficult task of restoring credibility to state government."
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley also praised the move in a statement.
“Governor Greitens has done the right thing today,” Hawley said. “I wish incoming Governor Mike Parson well, and stand ready to assist him in his transition. This Office’s work for the people of Missouri goes forward.”
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt released this statement on Greitens's resignation:
"The governor made the best decision for his family and the state. I look forward to Gov. Parson's leadership and will do everything I can to be helpful."
Kansas City Mayor Sly James released the following statement:
“It's sad and unfortunate that our state has had to witness politics at its worst. Missourians need their leaders to find sustainable solutions to critical issues like education, healthcare, infrastructure and gun violence. I hope that a change in leadership will help our legislature refocus its priorities on the very serious needs across our state."
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