Eric Greitens lived his last days as the state’s leader to the fullest — at least from a legislative perspective.
The Missouri Governor, who officially resigned on Friday, issued five pardons, commuted four sentences, and signed 77 new laws — all in one day. He has been replaced by his former deputy, Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson.
“The ability to make wrong things right, for Missourians who have not gotten fair treatment from our criminal justice system, is one of the most solemn and precious abilities of a governor. I believe in justice, and I believe that with these actions today — justice will be done,”Greitens said of his decision to issue the pardons. In referencing the legislation, the now-former governor said he was “proud to put my name on many important laws and bold reforms.”
Those pardoned included Stacey Lannert, who served 18 years in prison for killing her father, who she alleged raped and abused her, and Judy Henderson, who was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment after a robbery and a murder.
Greitens, a former navy seal once seen as one of the Republican Party’s rising stars, had announced on Tuesday that he would resign by the end of the week, after becoming embroiled in a sex scandal that spawned investigations. He was elected governor in November of 2016.
In January, local St. Louis station KMOV-TV reported that Greitens had an affair with a woman — who has not been publicly identified — in 2015, and allegedly threatened to release nude photographs of her if she ever spoke publicly about their extramarital relationship. KMOV learned of the report from the woman’s husband, who claimed to have audio of her describing the allegations. One day later, a St. Louis circuit attorney launched a formal investigation into the allegations. Greitens has acknowledged the affair but denied any claims he coerced or blackmailed the woman.
On Friday, one of the laws he signed, HB 1558, made non-consensually disseminating sexual images — the pending allegations against him — a felony.
In February, Greitens was indicted for invasion of privacy, which is a felony, but the charges were dropped last month, right before the trial was slated to begin. But in April, he was indicted again, this time for stealing a donor list from the charity he founded to raise money for his campaign.