Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester says the party is filing its own separate medical ethics complaint against U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais to ensure state health officials have the physician’s own sworn testimony that he had sex with patients, reports Andy Sher. “We … are doing what we do to protect Democrats and Tennesseans,” Forrester said shortly before heading to the state Department of Health to file the complaint (on Thursday).
He said, “I want to be sure that this agency has, in Scott DesJarlais’ words, the fact that he had sex” with at least two patients and gave one of them prescription drugs.
During the Jasper lawmaker’s fall campaign, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a similar complaint against DesJarlais based on his actions a dozen years ago. That complaint was based on reports from the Times Free Press and other news outlets
By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, who opposes abortion rights, testified during divorce proceedings that he and his former wife made a mutual decision for her to have two abortions, according to divorce transcripts released Thursday.
DesJarlais, who practiced medicine before going to Congress, easily won a second term in Tennessee’s conservative 4th District despite previous revelations that he once urged a patient with whom he was having an affair to get an abortion.
On his campaign website, DesJarlais espoused an anti-abortion position, saying: “All life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life.”
DesJarlais’ spokesman and campaign manager did not return messages seeking comment.
Court documents from the 2001 divorce trial were released by the state Democratic Party, which had hoped to make them public before the Nov. 6 election. They couldn’t because the 679-page transcript of testimony wasn’t complete. (Note: The transcript is available HERE.)
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A transcript from Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ divorce case is being released although lawyers said the public may not see it before Election Day.
Attorney Gerard Stranch, who represents the Tennessee Democratic Party, and DesJarlais’ attorney, Harvey Cameron, said Monday they reached an agreement to release the transcript after both sides argued the case before Circuit Court Judge Jacqueline Bolton.
Stranch said a short time later that Bolton sided with the DesJarlais camp in withholding the completed part of the transcript until all 600 to 700 pages of the transcript are completed. He said that likely wouldn’t happen before Tuesday.
The impact of an Election Day release isn’t clear. More than 120,000 ballots have already been cast in the 4th District during Tennessee’s 14-day early voting period.
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 and posted today. 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.