He blindfolded and bound a woman to exercise equipment, spanked her, and tried to kiss her without her consent.
Those are among the scandalous allegations against Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri that were released in a legislative report on Wednesday that has put the first-term Republican governor’s political future in deep trouble.
The report, the result of a House committee’s weekslong investigation into an extramarital affair that the governor admitted he had before he took office, has led to intense, bipartisan calls for him to step down. Mr. Greitens, however, insisted that he would not resign.
Among those calling for Mr. Greitens to step aside was Josh Hawley, the Republican state attorney general who is challenging longtime incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, in November. (Ms. McCaskill also called for his resignation.)
“The conduct the report details is certainly impeachable, in my judgment,” Mr. Hawley said in a statement.
Labeling the report “tabloid trash, gossip,” Mr. Greitens, who took office in January 2017, said that the relationship was consensual and that any claim of violence or sexual assault was false.
“I want to say again what I’ve said from the beginning: This is a political witch hunt,” he said from the State Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo.
He added: “I will continue to serve the people of Missouri as their governor and to work for you every day. And they know, they need to know, that fake charges and falsehoods aren’t going to stop us.”
He is scheduled to go on trial in St. Louis next month on felony charges that he took a picture of the woman without her consent and threatened to release it if she told anyone about their affair.
The report made no recommendations on the governor’s political future. The investigative committee will continue its work and will probably not make any recommendations on how to proceed until after the regular session ends next month, the speaker of the House, Todd Richardson, said. Republicans solidly control both the House and the Senate.
It is up to the committee to decide whether to file articles of impeachment against Mr. Greitens. If it does, a majority of House members would have to vote for impeachment, after which the case would go to the Senate, which would select seven judges to conduct a trial. No Missouri governor has ever been removed through impeachment.
The damning report details several instances in which the woman, who was Mr. Greitens’s hairdresser, said he spanked, slapped or grabbed her, and called her names during sexual encounters.
The woman went to his house in March 2015 at his request, the report said. He bound her to exercise equipment with tape and began kissing her around her stomach, the woman testified, according to the 24-page report. After she began crying and told him to stop, Mr. Greitens helped her undo the tape, and then hugged her and tried to console her.
But then he took out his penis, the report said, and the woman told the investigative committee that although she was not scared, she felt that the only way she could leave his home was if she performed oral sex.
“It felt like consent, but, no, I didn’t want to do it,” the woman is quoted as saying in the report. “Coerced, maybe. I felt as though that would allow me to leave.”
The committee said in its report that it believed the woman was credible.
“It’s extremely disturbing and disgusting behavior,” said Representative Shamed Dogan, a Republican. “I hope the governor does the right thing for the state of Missouri and resigns because he’s shown he can’t be an effective leader, and he’s not doing that.”
The investigative committee released its report even as the governor’s defense team tried feverishly to delay it. Defense lawyers argued that the report could taint a potential jury pool in the coming criminal trial.
The fact that the Republican-controlled Legislature went ahead with its report despite the governor’s objections is an indication of how strained his relationship is with members of his own party. The governor’s affair and the subsequent criminal case have been an embarrassment to state Republicans. Some consider it a damaging distraction that could hurt the party’s chances in the midterm elections this fall, which include the crucial United States Senate race against Ms. McCaskill.
Mr. Greitens, a 44-year-old former Navy SEAL member, started his political career fashioning himself as an outsider and a family man.
“I’m Eric Greitens, I’m a Navy SEAL, native Missourian and most importantly, a proud husband and father,” he said during his campaign announcement in 2015.
Mr. Greitens admitted in January that he had an extramarital affair before he became governor. He denied allegations, however, that he had taken a photo of his former lover and threatened to make it public if she told anyone about the affair. The allegations initially came from the woman’s former husband, who released to a St. Louis television station secretly recorded audio of a conversation with his ex-wife in which she laid out the details.
The report refers to the secret recording made by the woman’s ex-husband, saying that he told her, “You’ve been half-raped and blackmailed,” and her responding, “Yes.”
The St. Louis circuit attorney, Kimberly M. Gardner, who is a Democrat, announced in February that a grand jury had indicted Mr. Greitens on a felony charge of invasion of privacy.
In assessing the report’s findings, lawmakers found themselves on Wednesday grappling with whether the governor’s conduct was more severe than what is indicated in the criminal charges.
“There are definitely some questions about whether she consented,” State Representative Jean Evans, a Republican, said. “Violence against women is never acceptable. Never.”
“It’s in the best interest of the state that he step aside,” she said.
Even after the encounter at Mr. Greitens’s home, the woman continued to see him, she told investigators. He would hug and touch her, “like maybe hugging me and trying to put his hand up my shirt,” she said, according to the report.
She had consensual sexual encounters with Mr. Greitens, the woman told the committee. But in June 2015, visiting his house again, they began to make out in a bedroom and Mr. Greitens asked if she had been intimate with anyone since they had started seeing each other. The woman said she had slept with her husband, causing Mr. Greitens to slap her, according to the report.
Mr. Greitens’s defense team has sought to hammer away at the credibility of the prosecution, questioning, for instance, whether a Harvard law professor hired by the prosecutor could legally fulfill that role because he had served as a defense lawyer in other cases, including the double murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, the tight end for the New England Patriots. The governor also asked that a judge decide his case, but that request was denied.
Most recently, defense lawyers cited portions of a deposition with Mr. Greitens’s former lover to claim that she said she might have dreamed that she saw the governor take a photograph of her on a phone.
That account led to a forceful rebuttal from the woman’s lawyer, Scott Simpson. He told The Riverfront Times that his client had consistently testified under oath that Mr. Greitens had taken a picture of her.
The escalating back-and-forth led the judge, Rex Burlison of St. Louis Circuit Court, to issue a gag order on Tuesday, preventing the parties and others involved from discussing certain things publicly.
That order did not, however, extend to legislators and the report they released on Wednesday.
Mr. Greitens said on Wednesday that he looked forward to a trial, which he insisted would vindicate him.
“In 33 days, this will all come to an end because in the United States of America, you get your day in court,” he said defiantly.
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