Missouri legislative leaders announced Thursday night the legislature will convene in a May 18 special session to consider impeaching Gov. Eric Greitens.
"This path is not the one that I would have chosen for Missourians or my colleagues", said Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson, a Republican.
"This was not a decision made lightly and certainly not without great deliberation", Richardson said, adding the action required the signatures of three-fourths of members of both the Senate and General Assembly.
The special session planned for that day, and scheduled to last up to 30 days, will be convened "for the sole objective of considering the findings and recommendations" of the House panel, "including, but not limited to, disciplinary actions" against the governor, Richardson said. The process would then move to the Senate, where state lawmakers would name a panel of seven jurists to try the impeachment.
A spokeswoman for Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft confirmed the special session petition had been filed with the office Thursday night.
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Taking into account inflation, this is comparable to the size of the current 2014-2020 budget (including the European Development Fund).
Greitens has faced pressure to resign over the scandals from numerous state lawmakers and other state officials, including Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R). "But make no mistake about it, today's actions ensure that there will be a conclusion to this process", said Richardson.
That House committee this week released its second report examining Greitens' conduct, divulging new details behind his campaign's use of a donor list he took from The Mission Continues, a veterans charity he founded. Last month, it released a report with testimony from a woman alleging that Greitens had restrained, slapped, shoved, threatened and belittled her during a series of sexual encounters in 2015 that at times left her crying and afraid.
His criminal trial on felony invasion of privacy charges begins May 14, four days before the special session.
He's accused of hauling and taking a nude and unauthorized photo of their woman whilst she had been bound and blind folded in his home's cellar.
The governor was also charged on April 20 with a felony of tampering with computer data for allegedly disclosing The Mission Continues donor list to a political fundraiser in 2015 without the permission of the charity.