DesJarlais denies hypocrisy; watchdog group files suit

DesJarlais denies hypocrisy; watchdog group files suit

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Rep. Scott Desjarlais (Source: Desjarlais campaign) Rep. Scott Desjarlais (Source: Desjarlais campaign)

By ERIK SCHELZIG
Associated Press

NASHVILLE (WATE/AP) - A Republican congressman from Tennessee is telling supporters he's not a hypocrite for discussing abortion with a mistress more than a decade ago. But now he may have to defend his medical license.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a physician who opposes abortion rights, says in a letter to his supporters that the relationship with a patient occurred while DesJarlais was separated from his first wife.

DesJarlais apologizes for what he describes as an "imprudent approach." But he says he used stark language about abortion try to get the woman to acknowledge that she wasn't pregnant.

Meanwhile, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) on Monday filed a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Health arguing that DesJarlais conducted an inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient.

A Desjarlais spokesperson had no comment on the CREW filing.

Portions of this report are copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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