Missouri governor slams blackmail allegations as 'political witch hunt'

Missouri governor slams blackmail allegations as 'political witch hunt'
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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) on Wednesday refused to step down, rejecting allegations that he blackmailed a woman he was having an affair with.

A defiant Greitens slammed the accusations against him as "a political witch hunt" and vowed that he would be vindicated in court next month.

“Let’s call this what it is: A political witch hunt now based on the testimony of someone who said under oath that they may be remembering this through a dream,” Greitens said during a press conference in which he did not take questions.

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Greitens has admitted to the affair, and called it a "personal mistake." However, he slammed additional allegations as "one-sided, tabloid trash garbage." 

Calls for Greitens to step down grew after state lawmakers were briefed on a legislature report detailing the findings of an investigation into the governor's conduct. That full report will be released at 5 p.m. local time.

“We expect that tonight’s report will be full of more false, outlandish and salacious accusations,” Greitens said.

Greitens, who was widely considered a rising star within the Republican Party, has been under intense scrutiny and faced calls to resign since he was indicted on a felony invasion of privacy charge in late February. 

The indictment stems from allegations he threatened to release a naked photo of a woman he was having an affair with in 2015 if she revealed their relationship.

Greitens, who was elected governor in 2016, has admitted to the affair, but has denied the blackmail charges.

His trial is scheduled to begin next month. 

"In just 33 days a court of law ... will prove my innocence," Greitens said of the trial. "In 33 days, this witch hunt will come to an end."

Greitens's announcement came shortly before a special Missouri House of Representatives committee released a report detailing the findings of its probe into the allegations against the governor.

Lawmakers who were briefed on the report ahead of time told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the details are disturbing.