Rep. Scott DesJarlais' (R-TN), exits Judge Jacqueline Bolton's courtroom Monday at the Hamilton County Courthouse, in Chattanooga. Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Tennessee Democrats made an eleventh hour attempt to open U.S. Representative Scott DesJarlais' divorce files, looking for details on alleged extramarital affairs with patients.
However, Circuit Judge Jacqueline Bolton says the sealed portion of the divorce proceedings has nothing to do with the issues Democrats raised.
Gerard Stranch, chief legal counsel for the Tennessee Democratic Party, filed a motion Oct. 24 requesting that all documents related to Rep. DesJarlais' relationships with patients be open for review by the voters in Tennessee's Fourth Congressional District.
The head of the Tennessee Conservative Union has called upon DesJarlais to resign. Others are seeking a full probe by the Medical Licensure board.
In court Monday morning in Chattanooga, Stranch told Circuit Judge Jacqueline Bolton that he believed the sealed divorce records will show Desjarlais is a "serial philanderer" who had affairs with "multiple patients."
Mike Galligan, attorney for DeJarlais' ex-wife, Susan Feltman , said his client believes that all aspects of the divorce proceeding not dealing with the child should be public. He also told the judge that Feltman feared DesJarlais would retaliate by interfering with custody and threat of violence, stating that he had put a gun to her head prior to the divorce.
Stranch says he believes certain records common to a divorce filing may be missing; those that further detail scope of allegations.
After a lengthy recess to have the records sent over from Marion County for review, Judge Bolton says the sealed portion of the divorce proceedings has nothing to do with the issues raised by state Democrats.
Afterwards, Rep. DesJarlais said the only reason he appeared in court was to protect his children from the "desperate attacks" being driven by the Tennessee Democratic Party, former 4th District Representative Lincoln Davis and his ex-wife.
""My opponent and his far-left political allies have done all they can to make this election about everything besides my record in Congress," he said in a statement emailed to the media.
By late afternoon, Democrats learned they'll be able to review the record, but only after court clerks have completed the transcript.
"We hope to have time enough to review it," Stranch says. "But I can't say that I blame them (Desjarlais and his attorney) for trying to delay having his own words thrown back at him so quickly."
Wednesday, May 22 2013 5:45 AM EDT2013-05-22 09:45:10 GMT
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