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, U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais was trying to save his marriage at the time, according to his remarks on the call, made in September 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 U.S. 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.