Sanford: Ex-wife’s trespassing complaint an ‘unfortunate reality’ of divorce

April 17, 2013

Former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford (R) has released his first public comment since the Associated Press reported late Tuesday that his ex-wife filed a trespassing complaint against him this year.

In a statement, Sanford says he was at Jenny Sanford's beach house watching the Super Bowl with their 14-year-old son and that he attempted to contact her in advance but couldn't reach her.

The couples' divorce settlement states that neither of them are supposed to be in the other's home without permission.

"It's an unfortunate reality that divorced couples sometimes have disagreements that spill over into family court," Sanford said. "I did indeed watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14-year-old son because as a father I didn’t think he should watch it alone. Given she was out of town I tried to reach her beforehand to tell her of the situation that had arisen, and met her at the back steps under the light of my cellphone when she returned and told her what had happened.

As Political Wire notes, while Mark Sanford admitted to the violation in this one case, Jenny Sanford accusing him of a "pattern of entering" her house uninvited.

Sanford added that he thought it was suspicious that the story came out as he tries to reclaim his old House seat. The former governor, who left office after disclosing an affair with a woman in Argentina, faces Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in a special election May 7.

“There is always another side to every story, and while I am particularly curious how records that were sealed to avoid the boys dealing with embarrassment are now somehow exposed less than three weeks before this election, I agree with Jenny that the media is no place to debate what is ultimately a family court matter, and out of respect for Jenny and the boys, I'm not going to have any further comment at this time,” Sanford said.

Sanford later sent an e-mail to supporters acknowledging it had been "a rough 24 hours" and encouraging anybody with questions to contact his campaign office.

Updated at 5:20 p.m.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Aaron Blake | April 17, 2013