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Hearings begin in House investigation of Greitens

A House investigative panel met behind closed doors Wednesday morning as it looked into a felony charge against the governor. (Garrett Bergquist/KRCG 13)

A House investigative panel met behind closed doors Wednesday morning as it looked into a felony charge against the governor.

Wednesday’s hearing marked the first official action by the house committee looking into invasion of privacy allegations against Gov. Eric Greitens. Greitens is accused of taking a picture of his mistress while she was in a state of undress during an encounter in the spring of 2015 and threatening to distribute it if she spoke of their affair. The governor has admitted to having an affair but has denied criminal wrongdoing. A St. Louis grand jury last month indicted the governor on a felony invasion of privacy charge.

The panel took the unusual step of meeting at Jefferson City police headquarters rather than in one of the hearing rooms at the Capitol. Committee members voted Tuesday night to close the hearing. Members arrived at the police department shortly before 8 a.m. KRCG 13 reporters also saw a silver SUV drive into a police department garage surrounded by four officers. Committee members would not answer reporters’ questions.

Committee chair Jay Barnes said Tuesday he would not discuss any committee business, even to explain why the hearing was moved to the police station. The resolution authorizing the committees work includes a rule boring all panel members and their staff from discussing any testimony taken. Barnes told the House on Thursday his committee would focus on testimony from people with firsthand knowledge of the situation. He has said his panel is concerned with finding facts rather than making any recommendations on what action, if any, the House should take.

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