Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens declared victory as prosecutors abruptly dropped a felony invasion-of-privacy charge alleging he had taken a revealing photo of a woman with whom he has acknowledged having an affair.
The St. Louis circuit attorney's office said it still planned to pursue the case, either through a special prosecutor or an appointed assistant. But Greitens' attorneys said the case was crumbling under a lack of evidence and doubted any charge would ever be refiled after Monday's dismissal.
The first-term Republican governor still faces plenty of problems. Missouri's Republican legislative leaders renewed calls for Greitens to resign and confirmed they still will convene Friday in a monthlong special session to consider whether to impeach Greitens in an attempt to remove him from office.
Greitens also remains charged with a second felony in St. Louis for allegedly disclosing a donor list from a St. Louis-based veterans' charity he founded for use in his political campaign. No trial date has been set for that case.
Greitens, who has long denied any criminal wrongdoing, walked out of the St. Louis circuit courthouse Monday with at least a momentary vindication.
"Today the prosecutor has dropped the false charges against me. This is a great victory and it has been a long time coming," Greitens told reporters. "This experience has been humbling and I have emerged from it a changed man."
Greitens, 44, was charged with felony invasion of privacy for allegedly taking and transmitting a photo of an at least partially nude woman without her permission on March 21, 2015. If convicted, Greitens could have faced up to four years in prison. Greitens has declined to directly answer questions about whether he took the photo.