Eric Greitens, the Republican governor of Missouri, acknowledged the affair on Wednesday night after local news station KMOV published a scathing investigation into the governor's affair, but he continues to deny the blackmail the report alleges.
On Thursday evening, Kimberly M. Gardner, the circuit attorney for the city of St. Louis, released a statement saying that she has chose to launch a formal investigation into the allegations against Governor Greitens.
Through his attorney, the governor also denied an allegation from the ex-husband that Greitens slapped the woman, saying any accusation of violence is "completely false".
"Sometimes initial reports have some factual errors in them so I'm kind of in a wait and see mode to see what happens after that", said Shumake.
In response, Greitens' attorney stated that his client had a months-long consensual relationship (prior to his election as governor, although that doesn't matter) with the mistress but that "there was never any violence".
The woman involved did not comment on the record to the TV station, which did not name her. According to a transcript of the recording, she said Greitens later apologized and told her that he'd erased the photo.
Thursday, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced that she was launching a formal investigation. An attorney for the ex-husband said he has been interviewed multiple times by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Investigative reporter Lauren Trager of KMOV in St. Louis obtained the tape.
"A few years ago, before Eric was elected Governor, there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage", the statement from Greitens and his wife, Sheena, said.
The affair was "a deeply personal mistake", the statement said. "Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately".
KMOV aired its story on Wednesday, after the ex-husband, who also was not named, provided an audio recording in which the woman gives details about a sexual encounter she says she had with Greitens in March 2015 at his St Louis home.
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She also said, "as hard it is not just to want to drop in and say, 'Throw him out.' I don't want to do that".
"I knew he was being sexual, and I still let him", she said.
The woman alleges Greitens taped her hands to some rings and blindfolded her.
She added that Greitens later apologized and told her he deleted the photo, according to reports.
"I think the governor has seen 50 Shades of Grey too many times!".
"The serious allegations against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens are very troubling".
Greitens is a former Navy SEAL and has two children with his wife, Sheena, whom he married in 2011.
On Thursday, Missouri State Senator Doug Libla submitted a letter to the state attorney general requesting an investigation in this case.
Watkins said the circuit attorney's office was seeking seeking copies of the tape recordings and other evidence.
Republican leaders in the Missouri Senate and House released statements urging Greitens to be "forthright" and "accountable for his actions".
State Rep. Brandon Ellington of Kansas City has joined the chorus of Democrats who are calling for Greitens to resign.