Embattled Missouri governor won't step down amid growing pressure

Embattled Missouri governor won't step down amid growing pressure
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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) on Tuesday refused to resign amid allegations he coerced a woman into sex and then blackmailed her, despite top state Republican lawmakers urging him to step down.

“I will not be resigning the Governor’s office. In three weeks, this matter will go to a court of law—where it belongs and where the facts will prove my innocence,” Greitens tweeted.

“Until then, I will do what the people of Missouri sent me here to do: to serve them and work hard on their behalf,” he added.

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Greitens has been under growing pressure to resign since the Missouri House of Representatives released a report last week detailing allegations that he coerced a woman into sex and then blackmailed her with a photo he took without her consent.

On Tuesday, the top Republican lawmakers in both chambers of the state legislature issued statements calling on Greitens to resign. 

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard (R) said in a statement that Greitens has caused “tension, conflict and hostility” since taking office. 

“These alleged illegal actions are further harmful to the people of Missouri and do not represent Missouri values,” he said. “It’s time for the governor to find the courage in his heart and do what is in the best interests of the people he servers and step aside.” 

Richard added that he’d like to begin impeachment proceedings in light of the allegations.

The Republican leaders of the GOP-controlled Missouri House of Representatives concurred with Richard in light of the findings in the House’s recent report.

New this evening: top MO House and Senate Republicans jointly call on MO Gov. Greitens to resign pic.twitter.com/xGa4T9C7f5

The governor has admitted to the affair, calling it a “personal mistake,” but denied the other claims. He has taken to labeling the accusations a “political witch hunt,” and vowed he will be vindicated next month during his trial.

Greitens was elected in 2016 and was seen as a rising star in the Republican Party prior to the allegations of blackmail.

Other Republicans have previously called on Greitens to resign, including state Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), who said Tuesday his office has uncovered evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Greitens.