ST. LOUIS — In court records revealed on Monday, former Missouri governor and leading Senate candidate Eric Greitens was accused of physical abuse by his ex-wife amid a child custody dispute.
In a sworn affidavit, Sheena Greitens casts her ex-husband as someone who threatened to use his political connections and influence in order to destroy her reputation to win custody of the children.
“Prior to our divorce, during an argument in late April 2018, Eric knocked me down and confiscated my cell phone, wallet and keys so that I was unable to call for help or extricate myself and our children from our home,” Sheena Greitens wrote in the filing.
Eric Greitens’ campaign team said in a statement Monday morning that the allegations were "nothing more than a sad attempt to force a father to yield custody of his children to a deranged individual."
The allegations could complicate his bid to emerge from Missouri's Aug. 2 primary as the GOP nominee and potentially jeopardize his party's chance to hold onto a key Senate seat in the general election.
In the hours after the allegations were revealed, some of Greitens' political opponents in the ongoing Senate race have called for him to back out of the race.
“Real men never abuse women and children. Period, end of story,” GOP U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler said in a recorded statement posted on Twitter. “It’s time for Eric to get out of the Senate race and to get professional help.”
Missouri’s Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is also running, went one step further, calling for Greitens to be prosecuted.
“The behavior described in this affidavit is cause for Eric Greitens to be in prison, not on the ballot for U.S. Senate.”
Democrat Lucas Kunce also said Greitens should “immediately drop out.”
Dave Schatz, the Missouri Senate president pro tem and Republican candidate for Senate also called for Greitens to exit the race.
Republican U.S. Congressman and Senate candidate Billy Long also called for Greitens to leave the race.
Democrat Spencer Toder said Greitens remaining in the Senate race is "distracting from issues that Missourians are facing, is hurtful to victims of assault, and undermines our shared values."
The Republican candidate has not released a formal statement but told 5 On Your Side that Greitens should drop out if the allegations are true.
Sen. Josh Hawley
Republican Senator Josh Hawley, who endorsed Vicky Hartzler in the upcoming Senate race, said Greitens belongs "in handcuffs, not the United States Senate."