MEXICO, Mo. — Missouri taxpayers are not footing the bill for Gov. Eric Greitens’ growing team of defense attorneys, the governor said Tuesday.

Speaking with reporters after a visit to the state veterans' home in Mexico, Greitens called the investigation launched by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner in January a “personal matter” and expressed confidence he would be cleared.

Jack Garvey, a retired St. Louis circuit judge and former member of the city’s board of aldermen, was hired last week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Monday. Garvey joins a defense team that already includes James Bennett of Dowd Bennett law firm, well known for criminal defense work in St. Louis.

“I take care of everything and Missouri taxpayers aren’t on the hook for anything,” Greitens said.

Gardner launched an investigation after allegations that Greitens took a compromising photo of a woman he was having a sexual affair with in 2015 and threatened to make them public if she revealed their relationship. The woman’s husband released audio of her confession to the affair to KMOV television in St. Louis and his attorney, Al Watkins, has said the man has testified to a grand jury.

Watkins also said he has turned recordings, documents and other materials over to the FBI.

Greitens has admitted the sexual relationship but denied he threatened or attempted to use photos of the woman for blackmail. He has not answered whether he took any photos of the woman.

On Tuesday, Greitens said he expects the investigation to clear him.

“I am absolutely confident that any fair look at this will put this to rest and we are moving forward,” Greitens said.

Investigators hired by Gardner have interviewed lawmakers in Jefferson City, including top leaders of the House and Senate. The Kansas City Star reported that the investigators are delving into more than allegations surrounding the affair to include Greitens’ political fundraising, mainly done through a not-for-profit called A New Missouri Inc. that does not disclose its donors.

When asked about the investigators’ activities in Jefferson City, Greitens declined to address whether his fundraising has become an issue.

“As I have just mentioned, we are very confident that anything that they’re looking at will put this to rest,” Greitens said.

The governor said he believes Missourians are more interested in the policies he is pursuing — supporting veterans and pushing for tax cuts — than the investigation.

“That is where our focus has been and where it will remain,” Greitens said.

rkeller@columbiatribune.com
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