Missouri governor: ‘no blackmail,’ ‘no violence’ in affair


Missouri governor: ‘no blackmail,’ ‘no violence’ in affair

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.

In his first interview since acknowledging an extramarital affair, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens said Saturday that there was “no blackmail” and “no threat of violence” by him in what he described as a monthslong “consensual relationship” with his former hairdresser.

Greitens told The Associated Press that he has no plans to resign from office as a result of the affair, despite calls to step aside from several Republican and Democratic state lawmakers.

“I’m staying. I’m staying,” he said twice for emphasis, adding about his relationship with his wife, staff and supporters: “We’re strong.”

Greitens, 43, has remained out of the public eye since shortly after delivering his State of the State address on Jan. 10. Later that night, St. Louis television station KMOV reported that Greitens had an extramarital affair in 2015 as he was preparing to run for governor.

The report included an audio recording of a conversation between a woman and her then-husband – recorded secretly by the husband – in which the woman said Greitens had bound her hands and blindfolded her, taken a photo of her partially nude and warned her to remain silent during an encounter in his St. Louis home.

Pope consoles Peruvians reeling from floods, violence

TRUJILLO, Peru

Pope Francis consoled Peruvians who lost their homes and livelihoods in devastating floods last year, telling them Saturday they can overcome all of life’s “storms” by coming together as a community and stamping out the violence that plagues this part of the country.

Francis traveled to an area of northern Peru that is frequently hit by “El Nino” storms and was inundated in 2017 by flooding that killed more than 150 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes. Some residents are still living in tents.

At a seaside Mass for some 200,000 faithful, Francis said he wanted to come to the area to pray with those who lost everything and who must also contend with the “other storms that can hit these coasts, with devastating effects on the lives of the children of these lands.”

He cited organized violence and contract killings, a major problem in Peru and in the north in particular. He said Peruvians have shown life’s greatest problems can be confronted when the community comes together “to help one another like true brothers and sisters.”

Memorial service held for beloved Michigan airport dog

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.

Hundreds of people have turned out to salute a speedy border collie that became an internet sensation for keeping a northern Michigan airport free of wildlife.

People lined up to get inside City Opera House in Traverse City for a memorial service for Piper. The 9-year-old dog was euthanized Jan. 3 after battling prostate cancer.

Piper’s owner, Brian Edwards, choked up at times as he talked about the dog while photos were displayed on a large screen. Piper was a wildlife-control canine at Cherry Capital Airport – the nemesis of geese, ducks and even snowy owls.

Edwards says there’s “no book on how to be an airport canine.” He says it took “hard work.”

Ohio governor considers 3 applicants for high court seat

COLUMBUS

Gov. John Kasich is considering three people for an open Ohio Supreme Court seat.

Kasich, a Republican, asked for applicants for the seat to be left vacant on Jan. 26 by retiring Justice William O’Neill.

O’Neill is running for Ohio governor as a Democrat. Some Republican lawmakers are trying to oust O’Neill early, saying he should have stepped down weeks ago.

O’Neill says he isn’t officially a candidate until he files early in February.

The applicants are Judge Mary DeGenaro of the 7th Ohio District Court of Appeals in Youngstown, Toledo lawyer Richard Johnson and Carol M. Gottschling, an attorney and human-resources director for Lorain City Schools.

School board member overdoses on fentanyl, Akron police say

AKRON

Police in Ohio said a city school board member overdosed on fentanyl.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported Friday that police responded to a call about a man in a parking lot Thursday night when they discovered John Otterman unconscious in a car. Authorities said police found marijuana and a white substance that tested positive for fentanyl in the possession of the 57-year-old Akron Public Schools board member.

First-responders administered naloxone to Otterman and transported him to a hospital.

Police say Otterman told them the drugs were his.

Court records show Otterman is charged with a misdemeanor drug abuse marijuana charge. He wasn’t charged for possessing fentanyl. Under Ohio’s Good Samaritan Law, people who overdose up to two times are offered immunity.

Otterman remained hospitalized and wasn’t available for comment.

Ohio sheriff to helm Indiana National Guard’s 38th Infantry

INDIANAPOLIS

The sheriff of an Ohio county is taking command of the Indiana National Guard’s 38th Infantry Division.

Brig. Gen. Gordon Ellis will become commander of the Indianapolis-based division during a ceremony today at the Indiana War Memorial in Indianapolis. He’ll succeed Maj. Gen. David Wood, who’s led the division since October 2014.

Ellis will oversee more than 8,000 National Guard soldiers in Indiana and thousands more spread out in units in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee and Delaware.

Bank says executive is gone; no comment on harassment probe

NEW YORK

Bank of America has confirmed that a high-profile senior executive has left the company, but it would not comment on reports of an internal investigation into sexual-harassment allegations.

Omeed Malik is no longer a bank employee, spokesman Bill Halldin said Saturday in an email. Malik’s departure was effective the week of Jan. 8, Halldin said, declining to comment further.

The New York Times reported Friday that Malik, who was a managing director and helped to run the brokerage business that raises money for investment funds, left after a female analyst complained of inappropriate sexual conduct in the past few weeks.

Associated Press

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