Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, once a rising star in the Republican party, said Tuesday he is resigning after facing impeachment by state’s GOP legislature following a sexual misconduct scandal and a felony charge involving possible campaign finance violations.
The 44-year-old first-term governor, who has maintained his innocence as state lawmakers moved forward with impeach proceedings, was charged with a felony invasion-of-privacy charge in February for taking a nude photograph of a woman without her consent, but earlier this month the trial was abruptly halted when the state withdrew the charge.
Greitens was also indicted in April with a felony for misusing his charity’s donor list to raise money for his 2016 political campaign.
Prosecutors accused Greitens of obtaining the donor list without permission from The Mission Continues, a St. Louis-based charity that he founded, for use in his campaign. Prosecutors said Greitens directed an employee of the charity to take a list of donors despite the fact that personal use of the list was prohibited by the charity.
Greitens had previously paid a small fine to the state Ethics Commission for not reporting the list as a campaign contribution, The Associated Press reported.
The governor’s resignation will take effect Friday, he said.
Greitens publicly disclosed in January that he had an affair with his hair stylist in 2015, before his campaign for governor, ahead of a local news report detailing the allegations. Greitens and his wife called it “a deeply personal mistake” at the time.
Greitens, who had denied any criminal wrongdoing, still faced intense scrutiny from the Republican legislative leaders who have pushed for his resignation and begun impeachment proceedings against him. An impeachment vote was possible next month.
A special state House investigative committee recently released a report that detailed allegations from the woman, whose name has not been made public. She testified that Greitens restrained, slapped, grabbed, shoved and threatened her during a series of sexual encounters that at times left her crying and afraid, according to the Associated Press.
The scandal had also dragged in Missouri Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley, the state’s attorney general, who is trying to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill. He repeatedly been asked about Greitens by the press, making it difficult for Hawley to get his campaign message out, and he has faced criticism for why he didn’t attempt to prosecute the governor.