JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced he’s uncovered a potential felony violation by Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, Hawley said his office found evidence Greitens used an electronic donor list for political fundraising.
Sometime this year, Hawley launched an investigation into Greitens' use of the charity donor list belonging to The Mission Continues, which is a charity founded by Greitens in 2007.
Hawley’s office has turned over evidence to the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. Under Missouri law, it is the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office decision.
If charged, computer tampering over $500 is a felony in Missouri and Hawley says there is evidence it is over $500.
“The standards for impeachment say a crime is grounds for impeachment. So, I think you could certainly say these appear impeachable offenses, that is a decision for the House to make however, that is why we’re giving them the information we have,” Hawley said.
Clinical Professor of Law at SLU School of Law Susan McGraugh said under Missouri law, computer tampering is a Class E felony, which is the least serious of all felony levels.
"It carries a range of punishment of one to four years in prison, probation, a fine or a combination of those things," McGraugh said.
McGraugh said, if convicted of computer tampering, the Legislature would decide whether or not Greitens would stay in office.
"I think it's important to consider not just that there's one charge pending, and another that there's a possibility of. It's what the state can, in fact, prove against the governor. So you could have 10 charges, and if you can't make any of those charges beyond a reasonable doubt, then they shouldn't have any effect at all."
Statement from Circuit Attorney's Office
"Yesterday, prosecutors in the Circuit Attorney’s Office met with members of the Attorney General’s team. The AG’s team provided information they have gathered to us, and we are reviewing the evidence. We can’t discuss any specifics at this time, as the investigation is ongoing."
Statement from Eric Greitens
“Fortunately for Josh, he’s better at press conferences than the law. Anyone who has set foot in a Missouri courtroom knows these allegations are ridiculous. Josh has turned the “evidence” he claims to have over to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner— a liberal prosecutor funded by George Soros who allegedly suborned perjury, falsified documents, and withheld evidence. We will dispense with these false allegations.”
Statement from Jim Martin, Attorney for Eric Greitens
“We’ve done a thorough review of this matter, and we know that there’s no wrongdoing here. In fact, there’s nothing close to wrongdoing. Eric built The Mission Continues from scratch, and he helped thousands of veterans by doing so. The Attorney General held a completely frivolous and inappropriate press conference on a non-issue.”
Statement from McCaskill for Missouri Communications Director Meira Bernstein
"We're glad that Hawley has come out of hiding to acknowledge the existing evidence of criminal behavior of the Governor. However, the sad truth is that this shows gross incompetence on the part of the Attorney General. The evidence in this case has been publicly available since October 2016 -- what excuse could Josh Hawley possibly have for failing to pursue an investigation and allowing this evidence to languish for over a year? The only reason the statute of limitations is now a problem in this case is because Hawley was trying to protect his friend and large donor for as long as possible."
The Mission Continues statement
"The Mission Continues has been fully cooperating with the Missouri Attorney General’s office and we look forward to the completion of those efforts. We have said from the beginning, as an organization we completely abstain from any and all political activities. The Mission Continues did not provide, nor authorize the use of, our donors’ information to any persons or groups for political/campaign purposes. We appreciate that AG Hawley has recognized that the evidence fully supports that The Mission Continues did not authorize the use of any donor information for political purposes. Nor did we promote Governor Greitens for political office. The Mission Continues remains committed to our mission to empower veterans, volunteers, and communities around the country through the power of service."
This is developing story. 5 On Your Side will provide updates as we receive them.