The evidence of the phone transcript would appear in contrast with DesJarlais' professed pro-life and anti-abortion stance on his campaign website where he states "all life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life."
According to The Huffington Post
, Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn), urged his pregnant mistress to get an abortion in 2000. The transcript of the recorded conversation is part of a 200-page memorandum of court records detailing DesJarlais' divorce proceeding in 2001. DesJarlais pressured the woman to get an abortion explaining to her that he was trying to salvage his marriage.
According to The Huffington Post
, when DesJarlais was provided with a copy of the transcript he did not deny it, but said in a statement that the story was just another sordid detail being dredged up by the opposition. He said: "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."
In the transcript of the recorded phone conversation, DesJarlais and the woman argued over her getting an abortion. The Huffington Post
provides a partial transcript of the phone conversation:
"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.
[...DesJarlais says in the course of the conversation that 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...
[...the two argue over who initiated the relationship]
"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.
“Well, we’ve got to do something soon. And you’ve even got to admit that because the clock is ticking right?” he says at another point.
"Well, I've been going crazy. I mean, if Susan could talk to you, she'd tell you that I've been psychotic for months over this," DesJarlais says. "I don't sleep at night. I mean, it's like I'm trying to build my family back together just waiting for it to fall apart, and it's been eating me apart."
The conversation was recorded at a time DesJarlais was involved in a divorce proceeding with his wife who alleged "improper marital conduct." However, DesJarlais says in the phone conversation that he was working to reconcile with his wife. The Huffington Post
reports that DesJarlais and his wife finally got divorced after a protracted battle.
DesJarlais defeated Democratic Rep. Lincoln Davis in 2010 with the support of the Republican Tea Party movement. According to The Huffington Post
, Davis confirmed that his campaign received a transcript of the call in the last few days of the contest but did not use it because he could not verify it at the time.
The Huffington Post
reports that it identified the woman in the conversation and that the transcript and other court documents related to DesJarlais' divorce came from sources other than Davis.
Davis told The Hufifngton Post
that he finally got a confirmation of the transcript from DesJerlais' ex-wife, Susan. She said that Davis recorded the phone call himself. NY Daily News
reports that according to Davis, DesJarlais' ex-wife said: "He made the recording himself and let me listen to it.” DesJarlais had apparently hoped that the recording would help save his marriage. According to Davis, “She (Susan) even went further to say that the woman who supposedly was the participant in the conversation said in (legal proceedings) that she did have an abortion.”
The Washington Post
reports that a DesJarlais spokesperson said: “This is old news from the last election cycle that Tennesseans have already widely rejected. Desperate personal attacks do not solve our nation’s problems, yet it appears that there are those who choose to continue to engage in the same gutter politics that were characterized by national media as the nastiest in the nation just two years ago. Since the congressman’s opponents cannot attack him on his independent, conservative and pro-life record in Congress they have once again resorted to pure character assassination.”
DesJarlais' opponent in his reelection bid in the 4th District race is Democratic state legislator Eric Stewart. The Inquistr
reports that Stewart said at a press conference Wednesday that DesJarlais "doesn't deny that as a medical doctor he had an affair with a patient, got that patient pregnant and then begged and pleaded with her to terminate the pregnancy." He added: "Scott DesJarlais has proven over and over again that he cannot be trusted and this latest revelation is absolutely disqualifying."