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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens: I cheated on my wife in 2015

Cristina M. Fletes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A criminal investigation has been launched by the St. Louis circuit attorney to ascertain if Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens committed any crimes associated with the 2015 extramarital affair he admitted this week to having with a hair stylist.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Wednesday night admitted that he was unfaithful to his wife Sheena in 2015.

The 43-year-old Republican lawmaker's admission was inspired by local TV station KMOV's report Wednesday night, in which the ex-husband of the alleged mistress was interviewed and provided to the station secretly-taped recordings of his ex-wife detailing when and where she met Greitens. The identity of the ex-husband and woman were not revealed by the station. The station reports the woman declined comment.

The admission also came hours after Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, delivered his annual State of the State address in Jefferson City, Missouri.

"A few years ago, before Eric was elected Governor, there was a time when he was unfaithful in our marriage," the Greitens said in a joint statement. "This was a deeply personal mistake. Eric took responsibility, and we dealt with this together honestly and privately."

The statement continued, "While we never would have wished for this pain in our marriage, or the pain that this has caused others, with God’s mercy Sheena has forgiven and we have emerged stronger. We understand that there will be some people who cannot forgive – but for those who can find it in your heart, Eric asks for your forgiveness, and we are grateful for your love, your compassion, and your prayers."

"The serious allegations against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens are very troubling," City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner said in a statement Thursday. "After further consideration, I have decided to launch a formal investigation into the alleged actions of Governor Greitens."

Gardner continued, "It is essential for residents of the City of St. Louis and our state to have confidence in their leaders. They must know that the Office of the Circuit Attorney will hold public officials accountable in the same manner as any other resident of our city. Both parties and the people of St. Louis deserve a thorough investigation of these allegations."

The Greitens married in 2011 in Spokane, Washington, according to their wedding announcement in The New York Times. It is the governor's second marriage. They have two sons, Joshua and Jacob.

As for the TV report, Grietens' attorney, James F. Bennett, said in a statement Wednesday night, "The governor has now seen the TV report that ran tonight. The station declined to provide the tape or transcript in advance of running their story, which contained multiple false allegations. The claim that this nearly three-year old story has generated or should generate law enforcement interest is completely false. There was no blackmail and that claim is false. This personal matter has been addressed by the Governor and Mrs. Greitens privately years ago when it happened. The outrageous claims of improper conduct regarding these almost three-year-ago events are false."

Sheena Greitens, 35, also issued her own statement Wednesday night, saying "We have a loving marriage and an awesome family; anything beyond that is between us and God. I want the media and those who wish to peddle gossip to stay away from me and my children."

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