Scott DesJarlais, Pro-Life Republican Congressman And Doctor, Pressured Mistress Patient To Get Abortion
Posted: 10/10/2012 10:13 am EDT Updated: 10/10/2012 3:04 pm EDT
WASHINGTON -- A pro-life, family-values congressman who worked as a doctor before winning election as a Tea Party-backed Republican had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion, according to a phone call transcript obtained by The Huffington Post.
The congressman, Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, was trying to save his marriage at the time, according to his remarks on the call, made in September of 2000. And, according to three independent sources familiar with the call and the recording, he made the tape himself.
DesJarlais, who was provided a copy of the transcript by HuffPost, did not deny its contents, but in a statement released through his campaign characterized it as just another sordid detail dredged up by the opposition. "Desperate personal attacks do not solve our nation's problems, yet it appears my opponents are choosing to once again engage in the same gutter politics that CBS news called the dirtiest in the nation just 2 years ago."
That race featured charges culled from DesJarlais' divorce from Susan DesJarlais, which was finalized in 2001. The filing included allegations that he held a gun in his own mouth for hours in one instance and that he "dry fired" a gun outside his wife's bedroom in another.
DesJarlais' campaign vigorously denied those charges in his 2010 race against Democratic Rep. Lincoln Davis, saying they were hauled out of history for political purposes and had not been deemed credible at the time.
But the new transcript and other revelations from court documents paint a more damning picture of a man who was a serial philanderer willing to push one of his lovers -- whom he met as a patient with a foot problem -- to terminate a pregnancy, even when he suspected he was the father.
"You told me you'd have an abortion, and now we're getting too far along without one," DesJarlais tells the woman at one point in the call while negotiating with her over whether he'll reveal her identity to his wife. They then discuss whether he will accompany her to a procedure to end the sort of life the congressman now describes as "sacred."
"You told me you would have time to go with me and everything," the woman complains.
"I said, if I could, I would, didn't I? And I will try," DesJarlais says. "If I can [find] time, you're saying you still will?"
"Yeah," the woman answers.
The two bicker over when they can meet to hash out a solution, and they make clear the nature of their relationship when DesJarlais says delaying a resolution isn't fair to his wife.
"This is not fair to me. I don't want you in my life," the woman says.
"Well, I didn't want to be in your life either, but you lied to me about something that caused us to be in this situation, and that's not my fault, that's yours," the doctor responds.
"Well, it's [your] fault for sleeping with your patient," the woman fires back.
After arguing for a bit about who came on to whom -- with the woman seeming incredulous at DesJarlais' interpretation that she made the first move -- he gets back to the abortion.
"If we need to go to Atlanta, or whatever, to get this solved and get it over with so we can get on with our lives, then let's do it," DesJarlais says.
âWell, weâve got to do something soon. And youâve even got to admit that because the clock is ticking right?â he says at another point.
He talks repeatedly of getting the problem "solved" or "fixed" and eventually explains he's desperate to patch things up with his wife, who had filed for divorce two ye