ST. LOUIS (AP) — Opening arguments had been expected to begin Monday in the criminal trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, but attorneys instead are still sorting through dozens of prospective jurors who will decide the case.
Greitens faces a felony invasion-of-privacy charge for allegedly taking and transmitting a photo of an at least partially naked woman without her permission in March 2015. If convicted, the Republican governor could be sentenced to up to four years in prison.
Jury selection began Thursday with a pool of 160 prospects. They first filled out a questionnaire, then some were subjected to further questioning by attorneys as they sought to weed out people who could have a bias or for whom service would be too burdensome.
Circuit Judge Rex Burlison acknowledged Friday that the process was taking longer than anticipated. He said some people originally scheduled to be questioned Friday would have to return Monday, and a second phase of the jury selection process would continue into Tuesday.
Greitens has acknowledged having what he says was a consensual affair but has denied criminal wrongdoing. He has declined to directly answer questions about whether he took the photo for which he is charged. Greitens has said the affair started and ended in 2015, as he was preparing to run for governor. He was elected in November 2016.
The woman, who has been identified only as K.S. in court filings, has testified that Greitens bound her hands to exercise equipment in March 2015 in the basement of his St. Louis home, blindfolded her and removed her clothes before she saw a flash and heard what sounded like the click of a cellphone camera. She has said Greitens threatened to disseminate the photo if she spoke of their encounter but later told her he had deleted it.
Greitens faces a separate criminal charge in St. Louis of tampering with computer data for allegedly disclosing the donor list of The Mission Continues to his political fundraiser in 2015 without the permission of the St. Louis-based veterans’ charity he founded. No trial date has been set for that case.
The Legislature also is to convene Friday in a monthlong special session to consider whether to try to impeach Greitens.