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Tipsheet

Senate Candidate Eric Greitens Accused of Abuse by Ex-Wife

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File

Ex-governor of Missouri Eric Greitens finds himself mired in a brewing scandal once again, though the accusations are not necessarily unrelated to the hot water in which he previously found himself. According to new reporting, Greitens' ex-wife Sheena alleges in a sworn affidavit that the former governor physically abused her and exhibited "unstable and coercive behavior" during his waning days as governor and in a subsequent custody battle.

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The claims contained in the affidavit are serious enough on their own, but they also complicate Greitens' attempt at a political comeback seeking to be the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate from Missouri in this November's midterm elections.

In the affidavit, according to The Associated Press, "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," and what follows are some eye-opening accusations:

“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. “I became afraid for my safety and that of our children at our home,” later adding that his “behavior included physical violence toward our children, such as cuffing our then-3-year-old son across the face at the dinner table in front of me and yanking him around by his hair.”

[...]

At one point, she said, Eric Greitens purchased a gun but refused to tell her where it was. He also threatened to kill himself “unless I provided specific public political support,” she wrote.

The behavior was so alarming, she wrote, that on three separate occasions in February, April and May 2018, “multiple people other than myself were worried enough to intervene to limit Eric’s access to firearms.”

At one point, Eric Greitens made a reference to the fact that he had the children — and she didn’t — while trying to persuade Sheena Greitens to delete emails she had sent to the family therapist seeking help, according to the affidavit.

“Eric threatened to accuse me of child abuse if I did not delete the emails and convince the therapist to delete them,” she wrote.

She also said that during the same phone call, Eric Greitens berated her as a “hateful, disgusting, nasty, vicious ... lying b - - - h” while accusing her of providing information about him to prosecutors and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.

A few weeks later, he grew angry and confronted her when she tried to fly with the children to her parents’ house, she said.

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.”

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Big yikes, if true. 

Eric Greitens' ex-wife Sheena also noted that "Now that Eric is a candidate for federal office, public interest in my life, my relationship with Eric and the breakdown thereof, and the existence of issues of custody between Eric and me are being re-kindled and brought back into central public discussion."

For his part, Eric Greitens and his campaign deny the accusations. "Greiten’s campaign manager, Dylan Johnson, called the allegations 'completely false' and 'politically-motivated," According to The AP. "'His ex-wife is engaged in a last-ditch attempt to vindictively destroy her ex-husband,' Johnson said. 'Eric has always been a great Dad, who loves his boys and has always put them first, and that is why he is filing for full custody of his children.'"

The Missouri GOP primary to determine who will take on a Democrat to succeed retiring Senator Roy Blunt is August 2nd, a contest in which Greitens faces fellow Republicans including Rep. Vicky Hartzler, Mark McCloskey, and Attorney General Eric Schmitt. 

As the allegations contained in Sheena Greitens' affidavit made the rounds, Senator Josh Hawley — who as the state's Attorney General investigated Eric Greitens in 2018 — tweeted "It's time for Eric Greitens to leave this race."

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