Prosecutors announced they were dropping the charge about 4:40 p.m. Monday, after about 40 minutes of whispered conferences among lawyers and multiple trips to the chambers of Circuit Judge Rex Burlison. Lawmakers have scheduled a special session to begin Friday that could lead to Greitens' impeachment.
"This experience has been humbling, and I have emerged from it a changed man", he said Monday, adding, "We have a great mission before us, and at this time, I've asked people of good will to come together so that all of us can continue to do good together". Governor Greitens has produced no compelling reason to include the Circuit Attorney as a witness for any objective. Greitens' attorneys have accused a private attorney hired by Gardner of committing perjury.
His statement included one line apologizing for the "pain that this process and my actions have caused my family, my friends, and the people of Missouri".
Prosecutors said they will make a decision later on whether to seek a special prosecutor or appoint someone to continue pursuing the case.
The Republican governor declared it a "great victory" when prosecutors dropped the charge Monday. Dan Brown, a Republican who was one of just four senators not to sign a petition calling for the special session on disciplining the governor. The court's order leaves the Circuit Attorney no adequate means of proceeding with this trial.
Defense lawyers wanted to call Gardner because for weeks they have accused her of misconduct.
The woman, who has been identified only as K.S.in court filings, has testified that Greitens bound her hands to exercise equipment in March 2015 in the basement of his St. Louis home, blindfolded her and removed her clothes before she saw a flash and heard what sounded like the click of a cellphone camera.
A Gardner spokeswoman says a decision will be made later on how to proceed.More news: Netflix Horror Anthology Series From Guillermo del Toro in Development
The circuit attorney's announcement came on the third day of jury selection for Greitens' trial.
The governor had been accused of invasion of privacy for taking a nude picture of the woman with whom he'd been having an affair.
More than half the prospective jurors were being dismissed during initial screenings - some for displaying biases and others due to busy lives. Jurors aren't required to know nothing about the allegations against Greitens. Of those who have advanced to the next selection phase, some did so only after extensive questioning about being able to set aside opinions and discern the facts. The governor has repeatedly denied any criminal wrongdoing and dismissed widespread, bipartisan calls for his resignation.
House investigatory committee chairman Rep. Jay Barnes said it is considering how to enforce the subpoena.
Greitens also remains charged with a felony in St. Louis for allegedly disclosing a donor list from a veterans' charity he founded for use in his political campaign.
Greitens' indictment in February prompted the Missouri House to launch its own investigation.
Om May 2, the same committee released a report on Greitens' alleged misuse of the charity donor list. It released a report in April containing more testimony from the woman that Greitens had restrained, slapped, shoved, threatened and belittled her during a series of sexual encounters that at times left her crying and afraid. And that process is now expected to last into Tuesday. One of the figures under discussion now was Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, who was preparing to go to trial on charges that he took a nude photo of his hairdresser when she was bound and blindfolded and threatened to blackmail her with it.
Reporters shouted questions at the governor, asking about the possible refiling of charges and whether he had taken a photo of his mistress, as alleged in the charge that was dropped.
A felony conviction related to sexual misconduct would have nearly assured Greitens' impeachment, said Dave Robertson, chair of the political science department at the University of Missouri-St.