Colombia, Md. – Former Missouri Gov. Eric Grittens, now a leading Republican Senate candidate, was physically abusive and displayed “unsettling and coercive behavior” that led his wife to limit access to firearms, according to new allegations his ex-wife revealed in court documents Monday.
The affidavit, sworn in by Shina Gretens, is part of a dispute over custody of a child in Missouri. A professor of public affairs at the University of Texas, he sought a divorce from Eric Greaten after a sex scandal that led to his resignation as governor in June 2018. He is now asking the court to transfer the custody case to Austin to protect his children. Eric Gretens renews public attention as he seeks a political comeback.
In the affidavit, Shina Greatens cast her ex-husband as someone who threatened to use her political connections and influence to tarnish her reputation for child custody.
“Before our divorce, during an argument in late April 2018, Eric knocked me out and confiscated my cell phone, wallet and keys so I was unable to call for help or evict myself and our children from our home,” said Shina Gretens. Wrote in filing. “I feared for our safety and the safety of our children in our home,” he added, adding that his “behavior” included physical violence against our children, such as slapping our then 3-year-old son across the face at the dinner table. It’s shaking around. “
Once a swing state, Missouri has become more reliably Republican in recent years. But the race to succeed Sen. Roy Blunt is still gaining national attention as some in the GOP are concerned that, given the allegations and scandals published Monday, Grittens will face a weakness against a Democrat. And with the Senate equally divided, the GOP cannot lose which would otherwise be a safe seat.
Only the Republicans did not indulge him. Gretens, a former Democrat, was approached by House Democratic campaign officials about running in Congress before the 2010 election.
But all that faded after she was accused of taking a compromising photo of her hair stylist without her consent during an extramarital affair in 2015, after being accused of invading privacy in February 2018 in St. Louis. Shortly afterwards, a Missouri House committee began investigating the campaign’s finances, and Gretens faced a second criminal charge in St. Louis, accusing her of providing her political fundraiser with a charity donor list of her elders.
Shina Gretens says her ex-husband confessed to her that he actually took a compromising picture of her hair stylist which led to criminal attacks on privacy charges. But he said in his affidavit that he had warned him that if he disclosed this fact, he could face his own legal problems. That was not the case he later learned.
Since his resignation in 2018, Eric Gretens has largely kept his profile low. That changed last year when the Missouri Ethics Commission found the “probable cause” of the Greentes’ campaign money laundering law, but also “found no evidence of wrongdoing on Eric’s part. Greetings, individually.”
Grettens said the verdict made him “completely free.”
Shina Greaten’s affidavit, however, provides a bleak picture of her declining days as governor. At one point, he said, Eric Gretens bought a gun but declined to say where it was. “I also threatened to kill myself if I did not give certain political support,” he wrote.
The behavior was so disturbing, he wrote, at three separate events in February, April and May 2018, that “multiple people besides me were worried enough to intervene to restrict Eric’s access to firearms.”
According to the affidavit, at one point, Eric Gretens mentioned that he had children – and he didn’t – while trying to persuade Shina Gretens to delete emails sent to the family therapist for help.
“Eric threatened to accuse me of child abuse if I did not delete the emails and persuade the therapist to delete them,” she wrote.
He further added that during the same phone call, Eric Gretens accused him of being “disgusting, disgusting, ugly, vicious … lying B – – – H” and of giving information about him to prosecutors and the St. Louis Post. – Sending newspapers.
A few weeks later, he got angry and confronted her when she tried to go to her parents’ house with the kids, she said.
He “came to the airport and threatened to arrest me for abduction and child abuse, saying that because of his authority as a former governor who supported law enforcement, the police would support him and not trust me.”
In 2020, after informing Eric Gretens that he had taken a job at the University of Texas, he said he had threatened to “use his political influence to withdraw my job offer.”
Her ex-husband has been revived in politics, Shina Grittens said in the affidavit. Meanwhile, his past ability to influence law enforcement and appoint judges, as well as the more power he will receive as a senator, is “extremely frightening,” he wrote.
“Now that Eric is a candidate for federal office, the public interest in my life, my relationship with Eric and his separation, and the custody issues between Eric and me are being revived and brought back into the central public discourse,” wrote Shina Gretens.
“The weight of this information and the intimidation they create justifies taking the case to Texas,” he wrote, adding that “its power and reach are significantly less.”
Slodisco reports from Washington.