Ex-wife of Missouri Senate candidate Eric Greitens accuses him of domestic violence in court

Sheena Greitens, who now lives with their children in Austin, where she works as an associate professor, first publicly described her experiences towards the end of their marriage, in documents filed as part of an ongoing custody dispute over the child. children in the state of Missouri. court.

“In early June 2018, I became concerned for my safety and that of our children in our home, which was fairly isolated because of Eric’s unstable and coercive behavior,” she wrote in the file, obtained from Boone County Circuit Court. “This behavior included physical violence towards our children, such as handcuffing and pulling his hair at our then three-year-old son at the dinner table in front of me.”

Sheena Greitens also said that after her ex-husband took down her cellphone, keys and wallet and took her cellphone in April 2018, he explained his actions to her mother.

“When my mother later confronted him about this, he told her he was doing it to prevent me from doing anything that could harm his political career,” Sheena Greitens said in the document.

She also said that in November 2019 one of her children came home from a visit with Eric Greitens “with a swollen face, bleeding gums and a loose tooth.”

‘He said Papa hit him; However, Eric said they were romping and it had been an accident,” Sheena Greitens said in the document. The tooth, she added, later died and had to be removed.

Eric Greitens’ campaign manager, Dylan Johnson, accused Sheena Greitens of being emotionally abusive and launching “what is clearly a politically motivated attack on him.” Eric Greitens is seeking full custody of his children, Johnson said in a statement.

“This attack is nothing more than a sad attempt to force a father to relinquish custody of his children to a disturbed person,” Johnson said.

Sheena and Eric Greitens divorced in March 2020.

The couple’s relationship collapsed after a public scandal over allegations that Eric Greitens had taken a photo of a blindfolded, tied up and stripped woman with whom he was having an affair and threatened to use it against her as blackmail. He has admitted to the affair but denied the specific allegations, including taking the photo. A charge of invasion of privacy against the woman, his former hairdresser, was later dropped by prosecutors.

Sheena Greitens, on the court file, says her ex-husband has “publicly made false, untrue and misleading claims” about the circumstance that led to his resignation as governor.

She noted a recent quote from Eric Greitens, reported by CNN, that described how he had resigned because of the “enormous pressure that was placed on my children.” She said their children, who were 1 and 3 years old in 2018, were unaware of the scandal at the time and are still unaware.

She also claimed that her former husband admitted to taking the photo “which resulted in the privacy breach”. She claims he told her she would be exposed to “legal danger if I ever reveal that fact to anyone, even family members or a therapist.” She said she initially believed him “because of the reach of his influence in Missouri.”

Sheena Greitens said at least three times in 2018, multiple people intervened to restrict Eric Greitens’ access to firearms because they were concerned for his safety. She said he had “repeatedly threatened to commit suicide unless I gave him specific public political support.” She said he initially hid a firearm purchase from her in January 2018 during their marriage and refused to tell her where the gun was that summer when she asked.

“I started sleeping in my kids’ room to protect them,” she wrote.

She said he ordered her to destroy emails she sent to a therapist about his escalating behavior and threatened to charge her with child abuse. She said a few days later she decided to leave their home with their children for fear for their safety.

“When I told Eric about my plans, he threatened to come to the airport and have me arrested for kidnapping and child abuse, saying that because of his authority as a former governor who had supported law enforcement, the police would support him and not believe me. , and I would lose our children,” she said in the affidavit.

Sheena Greitens started the current lawsuit with her ex-husband in July, when she filed a petition with a court in Travis County, Texas to change their custody agreement. Court documents show Eric Greitens was given a trial on Aug. 12 while campaigning at the Lincoln County Fairground in Troy, Mo.

Since then, the former couple has fought in the courts of both Texas and Missouri over the proper venue for the custody dispute. Sheena Greitens filed the new affidavit this week as part of an effort to plead the case in Texas, in part because Eric Greiten’s previous allegations of political connections in Missouri had intimidated her.

Before his resignation as governor, Greitens was seen as a rising star in the party. He is a former Navy SEAL who was awarded a Purple Heart after surviving a truck bombing in Iraq. For the past year, he has tried to make a comeback by campaigning as a supporter of Trump and his political movement. He has hired several Trump advisers for his campaign and has traveled repeatedly to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate while seeking approval from the former president, according to people familiar with his appearances there.

Despite Eric Greitens leading the way in early polls, he faces significant opposition in the state’s Republican Party and concerns from some Republican strategists in Washington that his candidacy could give Democrats a chance to vote in November. to win.

sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has a rival, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), endorsed for the Senate nomination. Other Republican candidates for the job include State Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Representative Billy Long, Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, and Mark McCloskey, a St. Louis attorney who pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony after he charged Black Lives Matter. protesters are outside with a gun going home.

Eric Greitens’ resignation in 2018 followed the public disclosure of claims by the former hairdresser, who accused him of coercing her into a sexual encounter three years earlier. She testified under oath before a special committee of inquiry of the Missouri House that he led her to his basement, tied her hands, blindfolded and undressed her, and later forced her into oral sex. She said she thought he had taken a photo of her at the time and threatened to release it publicly if she talked about their relationship.

Eric Greitens declined to testify in his own defense but turned over his cellphone to police, who found no evidence that a photo had been taken.

She later told House investigators, when asked if she consented to sex, that “it felt like consent, but no, I didn’t want to do it.”

A lawsuit for invasion of privacy based on the photo allegation later fell apart, with the lead investigator charged with lying in a statement and the prosecutor referred for a disciplinary hearing.

Trump told the Washington Examiner on March 15, before Sheena Greitens’ legal filing, that he still planned to endorse the Missouri Senate race, and that Greitens was still in the running for his seal of approval.

Brooke Muckerman, Scott Farwell and Alice Crites contributed to this report.

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