COLUMBIA, Mo. — A campaign video featuring Eric Greitens leading a platoon of armed militia men to break into homes on a "RINO hunt" put his own children and ex-wife in danger, an attorney for Sheena Greitens told a judge during a custody hearing on Thursday morning.
According to Helen Wade, an attorney for Sheena Greitens, someone sent a written death threat to Sheena Greitens that said, “Wouldn't it be awful if someone hunted down and killed Eric Greitens and his entire family? Golly, that would be terrible.”
Greitens, who is running in the Republican primary race for a chance to replace Senator Roy Blunt, did not appear in court in person or via virtual video conference.
“I'm disappointed that Eric isn't here today because we were hoping that we would be able to get him to make a statement clearly denouncing the use of any sort of violence against my clients,” Wade said in the custody hearing.
“As a result of the video that was published widely on Monday, she's received some serious threats,” Wade said. “And in consultation with those that have expertise in this particular area, I believe Mr. Greitens has great power to ensure the safety of my client by simply stating openly and publicly that he absolutely denounces the use of any sort of violence, whether it be gun violence or otherwise, against her and the kids.”
Eric Greitens’ attorney Gary Stamper protested the timing of Sheena Greitens’ call for him to denounce violence and accused her of surprising him with the news in open court.
“There's no way that he wouldn't make a public statement addressing this issue, or the unintended consequences, but I do think it's a bit unfair to spring it today,” Stamper argued.
“I am asking for him to make a statement,” Wade said. “If he doesn't want to make a statement saying that nobody should harm her or the children pursuant to the threats that she's received in writing, that says all that it needs to say. She's scared.”
“If they want to have a press conference, they can have it on the courthouse steps,” Stamper said.
“This isn't a press conference, and this isn't theater,” Wade countered. “This is serious. You know we live in a country where this kind of rhetoric has resulted in violence.”
Sheena Greitens asked the judge to enter the death threats she received into the legal record and was then swiftly ushered out of the courthouse. She left without speaking to any media.
Another witness, child custody and guardian expert Liz Magee, told the judge, “obviously, I'm concerned about the safety of the kids too.”
Stamper released a statement via Eric Greitens' Twitter page Thursday afternoon. He said they reviewed the threats submitted into the court record and "saw no evidence of any death threats."
"Opposing counsel asked us to denounce the email and post. We do," Stamper said in the written statement.
Eric Greitens’ critics said the video recruiting his supporters to go “RINO hunting” incited violence against political opponents. In a radio interview on Tuesday, Greitens brushed them off, celebrated how much attention it was getting on the internet, and claimed it was merely “satire” and a “metaphor.”
The two sides have reached a temporary custody arrangement throughout the remainder of this summer, but remain at odds over which parent will have custody once the school year begins. Sheena Greitens has moved to Texas since filing for divorce from the disgraced former governor. The judge set a trial date of July 15 at 9 a.m.