Missouri Governor Greitens charged with felony tampering with co - KCTV5 News

Missouri Governor Greitens charged with felony tampering with computer data

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(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has been charged with tampering with computer data.

According to the probable cause statement, the governor has been charged with two counts of "tampering with computer data to defraud or obtain property."

The prosecutor's office said they found probable cause to believe that Governor Greitens violated Missouri State Statute 569.095 that was in place at the time of the incident. The law has a three-year statute of limitations.

Earlier this week, Attorney General Josh Hawley said he had found evidence that showed probable cause the Governor used a donor list from his charity, The Mission Continues, for personal gain. Hawley said he had handed the evidence over to Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s Office and that the statute of limitations for the charge was fast approaching. 

In addition to the Circuit Attorney’s Office, Hawley said he turned the evidence over to the House Committee investigating Gov. Greitens. 

In March, Hawley’s office opened an inquiry into The Mission Continues, which was founded by the Governor 11 years ago. At the time the inquiry was announced, the Associated Press reported Gov. Greitens used an email address for the charity to arrange political meetings as he prepared to launch his first bid for public office. 

Hawley released the following statement about the charges:

"St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner reviewed the evidence turned over to her by my office and determined that there is probable cause to file criminal charges against the Governor. The Office stands ready to assist the Circuit Attorney’s Office where appropriate and if needed. These are serious charges—and an important reminder that no one is above the law in Missouri. Like all criminal defendants, Governor Greitens is presumed innocent under the law until proven guilty."

This is the second felony indictment against Greitens in 2018. On February 22, he was indicted on an invasion of privacy charge.

Governor Greitens released the following statement on Facebook a short time later:

"Two months ago, a prosecutor brought a case against me.

She claimed she had evidence of a crime—but she’s produced none.

She said her investigator would find the truth. Instead, her investigator lied under oath and created false evidence.

She is wasting thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars to do all of this.

Her original case is falling apart—so today, she’s brought a new one. By now, everyone knows what this is: this prosecutor will use any charge she can to smear me.

Thank goodness for the Constitution and our court system. In the United States of America, you’re innocent until proven guilty. In the United States of America, you get your day in court.

And when I have my day in court, I will clear my name. People will know the truth.

The latest charge is about my work at the Mission Continues. When I came home from Iraq after service as a Navy SEAL, I started the Mission Continues to help veterans. In the seven years I ran that organization, we helped thousands of veterans, won national awards for excellence, and became one of the finest veteran’s charities in the country.

Those were some of the best years of my life, and I am grateful every day for the chance to help the men and women I served with. I stand by that work. 

I will have my day in court. I will clear my name. This prosecutor can come after me with everything she's got, but as all faithful people know: in time comes the truth. And the time for truth is coming."

Ed Dowd, the attorney for Eric Greitens, released this statement: 

"This charge makes no sense at all.

Eric made the Mission Continues. He raised millions of dollars for it. That money helped thousands of veterans transform their lives. He dedicated years of his life to creating the organization, and he spent the earliest period working for no pay. It was an extraordinary act of public service.

Now he’s being accused of stealing an email list from an organization he built? Give me a break. Not only did he create this list donor by donor, friend by friend, but the Mission Continues still has the list.

The idea that this is a crime is absurd. How convenient that he's being charged just two days before the statute of limitations runs out on a so-called crime that's three years old.

The court will find Eric innocent of yet another absurd charge, and the people of Missouri will learn the true motives behind this action soon enough. This allegation is absurd, and Eric will be found innocent of this accusation in court."

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty also released a statement: 

“One way or another, Eric Greitens’ short tenure as Missouri governor is about to end. The only person who doesn’t understand that is Eric Greitens. Since he will not resign, the House of Representatives must immediately begin impeachment proceedings. This is far too important to delay to special session a month or more from now.”

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

Previous coverage:

Greitens prepares to battle potential second felony charge after indictment upheld

Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. KCTV5 News contributed to this report.

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