The ex-wife of Eric Greetens, a leading Republican candidate for the US Senate in Missouri, has accused her and one of her sons of physically torturing her in a sworn affidavit that could have serious implications for Senator Roy Blunt’s race for the seat. who is retiring.
Mr Grittens, whose campaign denied the allegations on Monday, abruptly resigned as governor in 2018, amid a swirling scandal involving sex with his former barber and allegations that he allowed her A clear picture was taken without him. He was also accused by prosecutors of misusing the donor list of his charity for political purposes.
But until the latest revelation, his attempt at a political comeback had appeared impossibly successful, despite attempts by Missouri’s Republican establishment to block it. Mr Grittens, 47, a former Navy SEAL, called on former President Donald J. Trump, stoked the enthusiasm of anti-vaccine and anti-mask protesters, and took the lead in a crowded Republican primary race for a key open Senate seat. ,
He now faces fresh calls to outdo his opponents lest he become a credible red-seat competitor in November.
Missouri Representative Vicky Hartzler, who is running against Mr. Grittens in the Republican primary and who has the support of many top state officials, issued a statement calling on Mr. Grittens “a pattern of criminal behavior that would prevent Eric from holding any public office”. makes him unfit to live on”. ,
“He should drop out of the US Senate race immediately,” she said.
Senator Josh Hawley, the Republican from Missouri who, in 2018 as the state’s attorney general, pressured Mr. Grettens to resign as governor, wrote on twitter“If you hit a woman or a child, you are in handcuffs, not the United States Senate.”
Part of an ongoing child custody dispute, the affidavit from Sheena Chestnut Greetens, 39, a professor of public policy at the University of Texas at Austin, accused Mr. Grittens of physical abuse and “volatile and coercive behavior”. The 41-page affidavit, filed Monday in Boone County Circuit Court in Missouri, said Mr Grittens became increasingly violent in 2018 as his sex scandal threatened to end the once-settled political growth he had been accused of. It was expected that he would take them to White. House.
“Before our divorce, during an argument in late April 2018, Eric knocked me down and confiscated my cellphone, wallet and keys so that I could not call for help or take myself and my kids out of my house. be unable to extract,” Dr. Grettens wrote. , who has two younger sons from Mr. Grittens and whose divorce from him became final in May 2020.
She said that her “behavior included physical violence toward our children, such as tying our then 3-year-old son in the face at the dinner table in front of me and stomping him around with his hair.”
In a statement on Monday, Mr Grittens’ campaign denied the allegations and said they were politically motivated. The statement said that Dr. Grittens was “engaged in a last-ditch effort to vengeance destroy her ex-husband.”
Mr Grittens later issued a personal statement saying he would continue to “fight for the truth and against completely fabricated, baseless allegations”.
Dr Greetens’ attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.
Mr. Grittens’ lead in the polls has shocked other Republicans in Missouri, given that Mr. Grittens’ 2018 investigation was Republican-led and that impeachment proceedings will be conducted by a Republican-controlled legislature.
In 2018, Mr Grittens’ former hairdresser described a dangerous sexual encounter in which, he said, he had taken a picture of her and threatened to share it if he told anyone about his affair.
In her affidavit, Dr. Grittens said that her husband had purchased a gun, but declined to reveal where he hid it. She said she threatened to kill herself “unless I provided her with specific public political support,” despite accusations of infidelity she had admitted, even as she said she Threatened him with legal action if he disclosed the confession.
Mr Grittens is one of several Republican candidates aligned with Mr Trump, which has drawn concern from top party leaders in Washington, although the former president has yet to endorse anyone in the Missouri race.
In November, Sean Parnell, a Trump-backed candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate seat, was nominated by a Republican Patrick J. Tommy, was out of the contest when a judge ruled in favor of his estranged wife in a custody battle, which included charges. of misbehavior.
In December, another Trump-backed Senate candidate, former professional football player Herschelle Walker who is running in Georgia, told Axios that he was “accountable” for past violent behavior toward his ex-wife, Cindy Grossman. However, his campaign said he still denied allegations from two other women who said he displayed threatening behavior towards her.
Hannah Norton contributed reporting.