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MORE GREITENS CRAY CRAY: Lawyer's presser takes "Lov Gov" case off rails

The perfect hypothetical
 
COLUMBIA, Mo 4/5/18 (Op Ed) -- Where has Al Watkins been all my life -- or at least, the life I've lived in Columbia, which lays claim to no media personality remotely similar?

Watkins is a major player in the "Lov Gov" scandal: Missouri Governor Eric Greitens' confirmed affair and alleged blackmail of his sometime hairdresser, with a photo of one of their more raucous encounters. 

The larger-than-life litigator held a press conference in Jefferson City last month littered with so many titillating tidbits and WTF moments it raised salacious sidewalk repartee to a new media art form. 

The most fascinating aspect of Watkins' work, on behalf of client Philip Sneed -- the hairdresser's ex popularly known as entertainer and radio personality Moon Valjean -- is how it begs for coverage by doing just the opposite: Urging reporters, pundits, and "Greitens shills," as Watkins calls them, to beg off. 

Positioned near a door covered with black trash bags outside the Jefferson City Police Department, where secret Greitens doings were ongoing, Mr. Watkins slathered it on like molasses-rich barbecue sauce.  

"Don't think of my client's wife as a slut," he said, dropping the phrase "slut shamed" so frequently, reporters lost count of how many times their heads spun. 
 
"There are victims, women in partcular, who are subjected to persons in positions of power and authority, who exploit that power and that authority," he continued, perhaps missing the irony.  "Our Governor and his shills and surrogates have been tone deaf to the reality that victimizing the victim after the victim has already been victimized is nothing short of another crime." 

"Victimizing the victim after the victim has already been victimized." Say that three times fast. 

Mr. Watkins went on to call out some of the miscreants helicoptering around the Greitens situation. 

“When you have Representative [John] Lamping coming forth, and stating on the most powerful radio station in Missouri, that, goodness, this woman’s gonna have to talk about her other liaisons, her other sexual exploitations, he’s slut shaming her," Watkins said, with a studied, breathless insouciance. "I’m gonna use that term and I’m gonna use it frequently, because slut shaming is what we’re talking about." 

If "slut" wasn't on folks minds before, it sure was now.   
 
Sluts -- and prostitutes.  "When you have Professor Hardman (sic), who wrote the Governor’s tax plan, coming forward...you don’t come forward and you don’t liken this to the Duke LaCrosse prostitute scandal," Watkins explained.  

Thank goodness, Mr. Watkins noted, the media hadn't released the name of the alleged victim (except Bob Romanik, but he doesn't count).  "They’re doing it not because they’re being told to, but they’re doing it because of high professional standards" that respect due process, he said.

"Our Governor is charged with a felony.  He is a criminally-accused defendant.  As such, he is entitled to all the rights of any criminally accused defendant. The process has to be respected."
 
With that in mind, "our tone deaf Governor and his tone-deaf shills need to understand that there’s backlash, if they’re gonna hurt innocent minors, family members, and victims.  There needs to be a reprisal."

Wait, what?  Due process? 

One reporter seemed to catch the rampant inconsistency, asking Mr. Watkins how he would answer someone who blamed Philip Sneed -- not Eric Greitens -- for all the shameful slut-shaming.    

"I would tell ‘em to shove it right up their ass!" Watkins replied.  "My client is not the one who pulled his zipper down."

And what about the alleged blackmail photo?  Had Mr. Watkins seen it?
 
"I have not seen the photo," Mr. Watkins replied.  And in case anybody forgot what the Governor supposedly did:  "I wasn’t in the room when people were taped up, violated, blind-folded, photographed," Mr. Watkins continued.  "Do I know if the photo exists?  I have every reason to believe it does, but I’ve never seen it."
 
Another reporter posed the perfect hypothetical: If Watkins hadn't seen the photo, who might have seen it? 
 
"I’ve heard a lot of rumors," Watkins said.  "I’ve heard a lot of speculation. I can’t tell you if it ever ended up on social media, whether it was transmitted from one cell phone to another using the Confide App, for the purposes of a fraternity-like sharing of images of a conquest of the dayBut I’ve heard rumors."

Like I said: The perfect hypothetical. 
 
No press conference would be complete without a stupid question, and Watkins handled his with casual aplomb. 
 
Do you think the Governor should be arrested? 

"Do I think he should be arrested?  Well – he has been arrested, interestingly," Watkins said. 
 
Thank Heaven the next question was more on point.  "Do you have any other examples of what you’d describe as slut-shaming?  Has the Governor said anything like that?"

"No, we certainly hope not, at least, not in public," Watkins replied. 
 
Finally, these questions for every dad in America.  

"Can you imagine if that was your daughter, tied up, clothes ripped off of her, nude, partially nude, in a violated state, blindfolded, by a man in a position of power and authority, taking your photograph?" Mr. Watkins told the reporters.  "Can you imagine if those allegations are true, how you as a father would feel?"
 
About the same as I'd feel if my daughter's ex-husband's lawyer said all these things at a press conference.
 
-- Mike Martin
 
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