Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens and wife Sheena hold their children, Jacob (left) and Joshua, while addressing the media after casting their vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016 at the St. Louis Public Library Schlafly branch in St. Louis, Mo.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch—TNS via Getty Images
By Jennifer Calfas
February 6, 2018

A man whose ex-wife had an affair with Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has been subpoenaed by a St. Louis grand jury investigating claims that he tried to blackmail her, according to the man’s attorney.

St. Louis-based attorney Al Watkins, who represents the ex-husband of the hairdresser Greitens had an affair with in 2015, said the subpoena signals a step forward for the grand jury’s investigation of the incident, according to the Associated Press.

“It’s been stepped up a notch,” Watkins said, according to the AP. “It means a grand jury is seated and is hearing evidence about the investigation against Gov. Greitens.”

The recently elected Republican governor admitted to the 2015 affair on Jan. 10 in a statement where he admitted to being “unfaithful” to his marriage. However, he denied accusations that he had used blackmail to keep the woman quiet about the affair.

The woman’s ex-husband had an audio recording of a conversation between him and his former wife discussing the nature of her relationship with Greitens, who, a year after the affair, went on to be elected governor, according to St. Louis television station KMOV. The recording includes details alleging Greitens took a compromising photo of her while she was wearing a blindfold and said he would share it if she spoke about their relationship.

The allegations were met by backlash from members of both parties in the state senate, with Republican leaders calling them “shocking and concerning,” according to the AP.

A day after Greitens’s statement confirming the affair, a St. Louis circuit attorney said she would launch a criminal investigation into the allegations against the governor. Calling the allegations against Greitens “very troubling,” St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner said the investigation is “essential for residents” to “have confidence in their leaders.”

“They must know that the Office of the Circuit Attorney will hold public officials accountable in the same manner as any other resident in our city,” Gardner said in a Jan. 11 statement.

A bipartisan group of state senators had called on the state attorney general to investigate the allegations after they emerged.

Watkins and representatives for the governor and the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office did not respond immediately to a request from TIME for comment.

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