Missouri's top Republican legislative leaders abandoned GOP Gov. Eric Greitens on Tuesday, calling on him to resign instead of continuing to fight allegations that he illegally took advantage of both a charity he founded and a woman with whom he had an affair. Greitens already is facing a May 14 trial on a felony invasion-of-privacy charge related to an extramarital affair that occurred as he was preparing to run for governor in 2015. On Tuesday, Attorney General Josh Hawley suggested the St. Louis prosecutor could bring another felony charge against Greitens for allegedly taking the donor list from a veterans' charity he founded and using it to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign, the AP reports.
Hawley, a Republican, said an investigation by his office shows that Greitens took computer data listing the top donors without the charity's consent and used it for political fundraising. Legislative leaders said the potential of a second felony charge was too much for the state to bear. "When leaders lose the ability to effectively lead our state, the right thing to do is step aside. In our view, the time has come for the governor to resign," House Speaker Todd Richardson said in a joint statement with House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr and House Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo. Greitens quickly replied that he won't quit and hopes to be vindicated at an upcoming criminal trial. Legislators could seek to force him from office regardless through impeachment proceedings.
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