JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A St. Louis private attorney and a state lawmaker said they notified the FBI about Governor Eric Greitens’ legal and political troubles. It was a loud and heated hearing Thursday, which included yelling and vulgar words at the state capitol.
Attorney Al Watkins testified. He represents the ex-husband of Greitens’ mistress and Missouri Times publisher Scott Faughn.
Faughn gave more than $100,000 in cash to Watkins.
It didn’t take longs for things to get heated. One argument broke out after Watkins accused one of the lawmakers of mischaracterizing his testimony.
“You put your hand up to me, I’ll put my hand up to you and I’ll talk over you,” Watkins said.
When things calmed down, Watkins testified that the ex-husband retained his legal services to try to suppress the rumors of the governor’s affair from ever getting into the media.
“My client fought long and hard to suppress this story,” he said.
Watkins said when word got out the ex-husband had a recorded a conversation with his ex-wife confirming the affair, the media’s calls become more frequent. The ex-husband became fearful and things changed dramatically when Watkins said a reporter called the family’s underage daughter.
“My client’s decision at this point was, ‘I can no longer protect my kids,’” Watkins said.
Watkins said the man asked him to offer the story to the media just before the governor’s state of the state address.
“Our strategy was to make as much noise as possible on or before the state of the state address and we wanted it out there to make as much noise as possible,” Watkins said.
Watkins also testified he shared the recordings with the FBI. Committee chairman Jay Barnes also said he gave information to the feds concerning the possibility the Greitens’ campaign may have discussed how to conceal the identities of some donors.
Republican and publisher Scott Faughn testified Wednesday he purchased the recordings for $100,000 with his own money.
Watkins said Faughn gave him cash that apparently came from an “out-of-state wealthy Republican” who had an ax to grind. The money was to help the ex-husband. The identity of that “wealthy Republican” remains unclear.
Watkins was reprimanded by lawmakers for being disrespectful to the committee.
Lawmakers noted that despite the ex-husband’s eagerness to suppress the affair story, he apparently tweeted during the campaign that Greitens was a homewrecker.