COLUMBIA, Mo. – Former Missouri Governor and now U.S. Senate candidate Eric Greitens will testify under oath next week regarding his child custody case.
Sheena Greitens and Eric were supposed to testify during a hearing Friday, but because of the attention this case has received, an advocate for the former couple’s children said it would be in the best interest of the kids if the deposition happened in a closed courtroom.
Boone County Associate Circuit Judge Leslie Schneider expressed her frustration inside the courtroom Friday. It’s been nearly a year since Sheena asked to move the case to Texas where she currently lives.
“You all have had lots of opportunities to try and resolve this case,” said Schneider. “We’ve had several settings. I think we need to get it done. I know you’ve done a lot of stuff to get this case resolved, but it hasn’t worked.”
Back in March, Sheena filed an affidavit claiming her ex-husband Eric abused her and their two sons. Recently, her attorney Helen Wade will get the chance to question the U.S. Senate candidate, but it will happen behind closed doors.
“I understand that Mr. Greitens does not want to give deposition prior to the primary, I understand that, but we want this case to be over,” said Wade.
The former governor was not in court Thursday, appearing by video conference. His attorney said he believes the deposition is unnecessary.
“I had a sad suspicion about the petition’s exhibit two, the affidavit that was filed March 21, now you can hear it 20 times a day depending upon where you get your news,” said Gary Stamper, Eric Greitens’ attorney. “Eric is not afraid of the deposition, he’s anxious to be heard if it’s necessary.”
Stamper and Wade said in court the advocate for the children throughout the case, Liz Magee, told them allowing a public hearing would put the children at risk.
“We have some exhibits that we don’t think should be public, for example, Mr. Stamper has photos of the children, as do we, there are counseling records, medical records, none of which we think should be made public because it pertains to the kids,” said Wade.
Schneider asked both attorneys why they thought a deposition was the way to go.
“They are meant for the purpose of discovery, and you should have already done whatever discovery you need,” said Schneider.
The former governor resigned in 2018, less than two years after being elected following a sex scandal. Wade will likely ask Eric about the abuse allegations Sheena claimed in the affidavit.
“As Mr. Stamper articulated, the sad suspicion that he has spoken of has become a very public issue that has impacted upon my client’s professional reputation,” said Wade. “She wants every opportunity to address that.”
It’s uncertain if the transcript of the deposition will be made public. When asked Friday, if he was going to put Sheena on the stand for questioning, Stamper said “it will be a game-time decision.” Schneider is expected to rule if the case should move to Texas following Wednesday’s deposition.
In the March 21 court filing, Sheena claimed Eric admitted there was a photo, but “threatened that I would be exposed to legal jeopardy if I ever disclosed that fact to anyone…”
She also claims she’s been a victim of his political reach and influence as well as physical abuse, saying, “Eric knocked me down and confiscated my cell phone, wallet and keys…” so that she couldn’t call for help.
Sheena accused him of “cuffing our then-3-year-old son across the face at the dinner table…and yanking him around by his hair.”
Sheena said that after a 2019 visit with Eric, one of the boys had “a swollen face, bleeding gums, and a loose tooth. He said dad had hit him, however, Eric said they had been roughhousing and that it had been an accident.”
She claims that in 2018 he repeatedly “threatened to kill himself unless she provided specific public political support to him.”Greitens’s campaign said the abuse allegations were “outright lies.
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