DesJarlais says 'God gave me a second chance' - WSMV Channel 4

DesJarlais says 'God gave me a second chance'

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais is finally speaking out about an abortion scandal that rocked his re-election campaign.

DesJarlais, a pro-life congressman, 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 earlier this month.

DesJarlais also had sexual relationships with at least two patients and three coworkers while he was chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, TN, according to records.

During one affair with a patient, DesJarlais prescribed the woman drugs and gave her an $875 watch.

DesJarlais easily won re-election, and after months of keeping mum on the issue, he spoke publicly for the first time Friday with WTN Radio host Ralph Bristol.

Bristol: "You told me specifically in the past there was no abortion. Now, I know you are not talking about the same person, but the implication was there have been no abortions in your past and that's what you wanted your voters to believe."

DesJarlais: "I don't think, Ralph, that I implied there was nothing in my past. I didn't go back and dig up all my personal shortcomings and display them. I went through this divorce a long time ago. I made a very poor decision in my first marriage, and it's one of those situations where some people quietly practice their faith and some people wear their faith on their sleeves, but I believe in grace and redemption and God gave me a second chance."

That "other person" to whom Bristol referred is one of DesJarlais' alleged mistresses. In a transcript of a taped phone call between the pair, DesJarlais appears to be encouraging her to have an abortion. The congressman also addressed that issue Friday and mentioned his 2010 opponent, Democratic incumbent Lincoln Davis.

DesJarlais: "I don't think I was intentionally misleading anybody. I think that the abortion issue that was at hand was a transcript that was released when Lincoln Davis, for whatever reason, went and met with my ex-wife a year ago. I was referring to that incident, and I still stand by the statement that this was not a pregnancy and not an abortion."

DesJarlais said in court he believed the woman was lying about her pregnancy. The woman involved had testified she was, indeed, pregnant but declined to say how that pregnancy ended.

DesJarlais says he plans to run for re-election again in 2014.

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