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Lawmakers differ on how to handle the Greitens scandal

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Legislators differ in how to handle …

Each Missouri State Capitol office comes up with a different opinion on how the legislature should handle the controversy surrounding the governor's office.

ABC 17 News spoke with several lawmakers about the future of Gov. Eric Greitens after admitting an extramarital affair, while refuting allegations that he blackmailed his mistress.

"There is an ongoing investigation, and you know, I think we have to allow the investigation to happen," said Democratic Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, a minority leader in the House of Representatives. "Let's see what comes up and then make a decision."

"Is it a distraction? Yes," said Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick (R – Shell Knob). "But I think there are distractions that happen every year, and I think it's worth it from my perspective to allow the governor to make his own decision about whether he feels he can continue to serve."

"I just hope the governor does the right thing and does not force the legislature to drag him kicking and screaming," said Senator Rob Schaaf (R-St Joseph) in support of Greitens' resignation.

While some ABC 17 News lawmakers spoke to have asked Greitens to resign, many of them are seeking resolution of a criminal investigation when it comes to starting the impeachment process.

Susan Ryan, spokeswoman for the St. Louis Circuit Prosecutor's Office, said the investigation continues.

"If anyone has any information about the matter, we encourage them to contact the Circuit Prosecutor's Office."

The state constitution allows the House of Representatives to draft and approve any articles of indictment against a member of the executive branch. If approved, it would correspond to a panel of seven judges drawn up by the Senate to decide whether the governor violated the constitution. The Supreme Court of Missouri decides on the matter in the case of any other executive officer.

The court decided to try someone for the last time in 1994, when Secretary of State Judith Moriarty confronted the court.

Accusation of a sitting governor, however, would be unprecedented in Missouri. Legislative investigators tell ABC 17 News that the House has never voted to begin the impeachment process.

Marc Powers, Beatty's chief of staff, told ABC 17 News that the party has not yet drafted an indictment.

"We will, however, reassess that position as the situation unfolds and new information comes to light," Powers said. "But for now, we want to be careful and not take the risk of interfering with the criminal investigation."

Jim Bennett, personal lawyer of Greitens, said the governor does not intend to resign.


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