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In this Jan. 29, 2018, file photo, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks in Palmyra, Mo. (AP) In this Jan. 29, 2018, file photo, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks in Palmyra, Mo. (AP)

In this Jan. 29, 2018, file photo, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks in Palmyra, Mo. (AP)

Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman April 13, 2018

Did accuser in Eric Greitens sex case say photo may have been a dream?

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is expected to go to trial in May on a felony indictment of invasion of privacy related to an allegation that he took a photo of a woman who was partially nude without her consent.

Greitens admitted the extramarital affair with his former hairdresser in January, but described it as consensual and denied allegations that he threatened her. Greitens, a combat veteran and a Republican, was elected governor in 2016.

How Greitens behaved during the affair, and especially whether he had specific sexual interactions with the woman without her consent, have become key points of dispute.

An April 8 headline on the Sentinel, a website that writes about government in Missouri, said that his accuser "admits photo session may have been a dream."

Facebook users flagged the post as being potentially fabricated, as part of the social network’s efforts to combat online hoaxes. We found news reports show the woman did make this statement in a deposition, but the Sentinel omitted a complete explanation about the woman’s testimony.

The Sentinel quoted from a few paragraphs in a defense motion filed on behalf of Greitens April 8.

When the defense counsel asked the woman, "Did you ever see (Greitens) in possession of a camera or phone?" she answered: "Not to my knowledge. I didn’t see him with it."

An assistant circuit attorney asked the woman, "Did you see what you believed to be a phone?"

She answered, "… I haven’t talked about it because I don’t know if it’s because I’m remembering it through a dream or I – I’m not sure, but yes, I feel like I saw it after that happened, but I haven’t spoken about it because of that."

Jack Cashill, co-editor of the Sentinel, told PolitiFact that he didn’t have the full deposition and relied on excerpts in the court filing.

"It is for this reason I used the subjunctive in the headline ‘may have,’ " he said, noting that other news outlets including the Daily Mail used a similar approach in headlines.

Greitens has seized on the dream portion of the woman’s statement, telling media that the case is "a political witch hunt now based on the testimony of somebody who said under oath that they may be remembering this through a dream."

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Other news reports state that that the woman’s testimony came during a deposition that lasted for several hours.

The Associated Press wrote that "the prosecutor in the case says the defense ‘cherry picked bits and pieces’ of her nine-hour deposition and the woman's attorney says the comment referred to one particular instance concerning the photo."

The Missouri House committee investigation into the allegations against Greitens also mentioned the dream comment, but stated in a footnote that the committee "includes these quotes in the absence of a full transcript from the deposition."

The woman told the committee that during an encounter with Greitens, "I can hear like a, like a cell phone – like a picture, and I can see a flash through the blindfold."

The committee concluded that the woman was a credible witness. Greitens did not testify before the House committee.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison issued a gag order in the case which prohibits comments related to the deposition and requires the judge to sign off on certain court filings before they're made public. Without the deposition, we can’t fully evaluate the woman’s comments.

The woman’s attorney, Scott Simpson, said in statement to media that the woman supports the release of the full transcript.

Simpson said that Greitens "has admitted to my client, on multiple occasions that he took her photograph without her consent, and threatened to release it if she ever told anyone about their relationship."

Our ruling

A headline by the Sentinel website said that "Greitens accuser admits photo session may have been a ‘dream.’ "

News articles state that the woman made that comment during a lengthy deposition. Since we don’t have a transcript of the deposition, it is difficult to evaluate her comment but it appears to be cherry-picking from a deposition that lasted several hours.

We rate this claim Half True.

Our Sources

The Sentinel, "Breaking: Greitens Accuser Admits Photo Session May Have Been A ‘Dream,’" April 8, 2018

Missouri House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, Report, April 11, 2018

Lawyer Scott Simpson, Statement about Greitens case, April 9, 2018

Associated Press, "Report: Missouri Gov. Greitens slapped, grabbed woman," April 12, 2018

Associated Press, "The Latest: House panel to release Greitens report Wednesday," April 10, 2018

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Greitens' lawyers dispute 'dream' evidence," April 10, 2018

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Greitens' former mistress supports release of her full deposition transcript," April 10, 2018

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens indicted for felony invasion of privacy," Feb. 23, 2018

Springfield News-Leader, "Governor defiant of 'political witch hunt,’" April 12, 2018

Kansas City Star, "Greitens’ lawyers challenge credibility of woman allegedly photographed while nude," April 19, 2018

New York Times, "Gov. Eric Greitens of Missouri Admits Affair but Denies Threats," Jan. 11, 2018

Daily Mail, "Hairdresser-mistress who accused disgraced Missouri governor of taking racy photo to blackmail her now admits she might have DREAMED seeing him with a camera phone," April 9, 2018

Interview, Jack Cashill, The Sentinel website co-editor, April 12, 2018

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