Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens acknowledges he was "unfaithful" in his marriage but denies allegations that he blackmailed the woman he had an affair with to stay quiet, the AP reports. The Republican governor and his wife, Sheena, released a joint statement Wednesday night after KMOV reported that Greitens had a sexual relationship with his former hairdresser in 2015. The station reported that the woman's ex-husband alleged Greitens photographed her nude and threatened to publicize the images if she spoke about the affair. "A few years ago, before Eric was elected governor, there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage," the Greitens' statement said. "It was a deeply personal mistake."
The woman allegedly involved did not comment on the record to KMOV, which released its report late Wednesday after Greitens gave his State of the State speech. But her ex-husband, who divorced her in 2016, provided a recording of her detailing a sexual encounter with Greitens and saying Greitens told her the photos would be released if she exposed the affair. She did not know she was being recorded. Greitens' statement with his wife didn't address the affair specifically or the allegations, but in a separate statement, Greitens' attorney, Jim Bennett, said, "There was no blackmail and that claim is false." St. Louis Public Radio notes that the news could damage Greitens' higher political aspirations, especially since his 2016 campaign focused on character and family values.