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Many state lawmakers suspending judgement on Greitens scandal

More than a week after St. Louis news station KMOV published its report on Gov. Eric Greitens’ extramarital affair, the debate on how the state government should respond continues at the Capitol.

Several lawmakers, including at least five from his own party, have called for the governor to resign due to the embarrassment the affair and the allegations of blackmail have caused the state.

Still, many other legislators from both parties say calls for resignation or talk of impeachment are largely premature.

“You have a consensual affair between two adults, there’s nothing illegal about this,” said State Rep. Stacey Newman, a St. Louis Democrat. “Then, there are questions of blackmail and a secretly recorded conversation. It has to come down to what is right and what is wrong.”

Newman said that while she is a political opposite of the governor, the question of potential criminal activity is an issue that is above partisanship.

As of Thursday morning, despite severe damage to his “family man” persona, the governor has not been charged with a crime.

A St. Louis attorney is currently looking into whether the governor broke any laws during the 2015 affair, and until any evidence is found to suggest he did, Newman said jumping to conclusions is not a prudent action.

“Most of us are making our own judgments on what we thing may have happened,” said Newman. “That’s something we legislators may have to weigh in on, but that’s still a long way off. There’s going to be a lot of information out there, perhaps even one-sided information. But, what we are all very concerned about here is, ‘did the governor, you know is he criminally liable? Are these allegations actually true?”

Whatever Greitens’ next move is, many lawmakers say it should involve addressing the allegations of blackmail publicly.

The governor has not made a public appearance since his state of the state address on Jan. 10.

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