Missouri House passes nude photo legislation

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Missouri House has passed a bill that would make it a felony to disseminate _ or threaten to disseminate _ private sexual images.

The 149-1 House vote Monday comes as Gov. Eric Greitens is facing a felony indictment on a charge of invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a photo of a nude or partially nude woman in 2015 and transmitting it to a computer.

Lawmakers didn’t mention Greitens during their brief debate Monday. But some noted that the legislation also had been proposed last year. The allegations against Greitens did not become public until this past January.

Greitens has acknowledged having an affair but has denied using a photo as blackmail for the woman to remain silent.

The House legislation now moves to the Senate.

___

5 p.m.

St. Louis prosecutors say the ongoing investigation of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens could include matters beyond the allegation of invasion of privacy involving a woman with whom he had an affair.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a contentious, unscheduled hearing occurred Monday in St. Louis Circuit Court, during which the Republican governor’s legal team accused the circuit attorney’s office of improperly using the grand jury to perform the investigation.

The grand jury’s indictment of Greitens was announced Thursday. He is accused of taking a compromising, unauthorized photo of the woman in 2015 before he was governor. He has admitted to the affair but denies committing a crime.

A judge at the hearing set a tentative trial date of May 14.

___

4:45 p.m.

A special panel of seven Missouri House members will investigate allegations against Gov. Eric Greitens following his indictment on a felony invasion-of-privacy charge related to an extramarital affair.

House Speaker Todd Richardson said the panel announced Monday will include five Republicans and two Democrats. It will be led by Republican Rep. Jay Barnes, a Jefferson City attorney.

Barnes pledged a “fair, thorough and timely” investigation “without any pre-ordained results.”

Greitens is accused of taking a photo of a woman in a compromising position and transmitting it to a computer. He has admitted to an affair, but his attorney says he is innocent of invasion of privacy.

A pair of Republican House members said Thursday that they had gathered signatures from about a dozen GOP lawmakers calling for Greitens’ resignation.

___

1:30 p.m.

Black activists in St. Louis say Gov. Eric Greitens’ criticism of the city’s circuit attorney following his felony indictment had racial undertones.

About 100 people, most of them African-American, gathered for a protest Monday outside an St. Louis courthouse to show their support for Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who is black.

Gardner, a Democrat, launched an investigation of the Republican governor in January after he admitted to an extramarital affair in 2015 before he was governor. A grand jury on Thursday indicted Greitens on one count of invasion of privacy, alleging he took a compromising photo of the woman without her consent.

Greitens says he committed no crime and in a statement blamed Gardner, calling her a “reckless liberal prosecutor.”

The Rev. Darryl Gray, one of the leaders of the St. Louis protest, called the governor’s response “character assassination” and says it is typical of the way blacks in leadership positions are often treated.

Messages seeking a response from Greitens were not immediately returned.

___

11 a.m.

A man convicted of invasion of privacy in Missouri 19 years ago is asking Gov. Eric Greitens for a pardon, using the same argument that the governor’s lawyers are using in the effort to dismiss an indictment of Greitens.

A St. Louis grand jury last week indicted the Republican governor on felony invasion of privacy. In 1999, Paul Henreid was convicted of invasion of privacy in St. Louis for secretly filming sex partners.

Henreid’s attorney, Al Watkins, says it would be “hypocritical” for Greitens to reject the pardon request. An email message left Monday with Greitens’ spokesman was not immediately returned.

Henreid’s trial attorneys argued that the law was aimed at “peeping Toms,” not someone engaged in a consensual relationship. Greitens’ attorneys made a similar argument in the motion to dismiss.

___

10 a.m.

A St. Louis grand jury’s investigation of Missouri Gov. Eri Greitens isn’t complete, even though an indictment was issued last week.

Susan Ryan, a spokeswoman for Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, said Monday that the grand jury investigation of the Republican governor is “ongoing.” There is no timetable for when it will be complete, and Ryan declined to say what else the grand jury is investigating.

Greitens was indicted Thursday on felony invasion of privacy. The charge stems from an extramarital affair he had with his St. Louis hairdresser starting in March 2015, before he was elected.

Prosecutors allege Greitens took a compromising photo of the woman without her consent. Greitens has admitted to the affair but says no crime was committed.

___

8:45 a.m.

Missouri lawmakers are returning to the Statehouse for the first time since Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted, with plans to discuss assembling a committee whose investigation could lead to his impeachment.

The first-term Republican governor was indicted late Thursday on felony invasion of privacy. The charge stems from an extramarital affair he had with his hairdresser in March 2015, before he was elected.

Prosecutors allege Greitens took a compromising photo of the woman without her consent. Greitens has admitted to the affair but says no crime was committed.

Legislators are reconvening Monday. House Republican leaders say they’ll form a group of lawmakers to investigate the allegations and determine whether the governor can lead the state amid the felony case. Greitens’ attorney said he welcomes the investigation.

House leaders didn’t specifically mention impeachment, a process that must begin in the House with an investigation.