Embattled Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted Thursday on felony invasion of privacy charges in connection with a nude photo he allegedly took of a woman with whom he was having an affair, St. Louis prosecutors said.
Greitens, a Republican who was elected in 2016, has faced a barrage of questions since it was revealed in January that he had an extramarital affair.
In an audio recording released in January by KMOV-TV in St. Louis, a hairstylist told her ex-husband that she'd had an affair in 2015 with Greitens — then philanthropist, now governor — and that he had tied her to home exercise equipment, taken a photo of her naked and threatened to publicly release the image if she ever told anyone about it.
She said Greitens later apologized and said he had deleted the photo.
Greitens has admitted to the affair, but denied that he threatened the woman and used the photo as blackmail.
A request for comment to his office was not immediately returned Thursday.
St. Louis Circuit Atty. Kimberly M. Gardner, who handed down the indictment, said in a statement that "it is essential for residents of the city of St. Louis and our state 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 of our city. Both parties and the people of St. Louis deserve a thorough investigation of these allegations," Gardner said.
The Democratic Governors Assn. called for Greitens to resign immediately.
"The charges against Eric Greitens are deeply disturbing and prove he is unfit to hold public office. Following today's indictment, Gov. Greitens should step down immediately. The people of Missouri deserve a governor who can focus full time on the issues affecting the state," the association's executive director, Elisabeth Pearson, said in a statement.
In an interview this week, Greitens said he had no plan to resign.
To many Republicans in Missouri, Greitens was viewed as a rising star. In recent months, his national ambitions were on display as he traveled to states like Iowa and New Hampshire, where some even suggested he could run for president.
Earlier Thursday, in a show of support from the national Republicans, the Republican Governors Assn. lauded him on social media.
"With @EricGrietens the people of Missouri have a leader in office focused on returning money to the pockets of taxpayers — not government."