Flynt Calls Rep. Barr a Hypocrite for Divorce Case Answers
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 12, 1999; Page A7
In a bit of televised theatrics, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt last night accused Rep. Robert L. Barr Jr. (R-Ga.) of hypocrisy for refusing to answer questions in a divorce proceeding about his relationship with the woman who is now his third wife.
Flynt contrasted Barr's invocation of a judicial privilege under Georgia law with the congressman's harsh criticism of President Clinton for evasive testimony under oath about his relationship with Monica S. Lewinsky. Barr is one of the 13 House "managers" who will present the case for Clinton's impeachment at the Senate trial.
Flynt, whose investigations of Republican politicians' personal lives have made him the focus of enormous media attention, leveled his charge on CNBC's "Rivera Live" and planned to repeat it at a Los Angeles news conference (which C-SPAN executives canceled plans to air after watching the Rivera broadcast). But even host Geraldo Rivera, a strong Clinton supporter, appeared underwhelmed by the much-ballyhooed revelation.
"I'm looking to expose the hypocrites," Flynt said. "I believe that Congressman Barr has taken a moral and ethical position that is inconsistent with the position he's taken as a congressman."
In a statement, Barr said that "I've never perjured myself. . . . I am deeply saddened that Larry Flynt's money has been used in an attempt to drive a wedge between the mother and father of two wonderful boys who deserve better than to become involved in the politics of personal destruction." He said he would not add to these efforts "by discussing our personal lives in any way, shape or form with the news media."
Barr had warned Flynt in a Dec. 28 letter that publication of such charges would demonstrate "an utter and malicious disregard for the truth."
In a transcript of the divorce proceeding involving his second wife, Gail, Barr declined to answer such questions as "Have you been faithful to her sexually during the marriage?" and "Have you ever lived with Jerry Dobbin?" a reference to Barr's wife since 1986, Jerilyn.
Barr's attorney said during the proceeding that such questions were "irrelevant" and that answering could bring "public disgrace and infamy" upon Barr's family.
At the news conference, Flynt acknowledged paying Gail Barr for an affidavit, in which she said: "It was evident to me that Bob was having an affair with Jeri before Bob and I were divorced" in 1986.
Rivera played a clip from the House impeachment hearings in which Barr called Clinton "a president who excels at evasive and crafty answers."
Flynt began his investigations in October with a full-page ad in The Washington Post, offering up to $1 million to anyone who could prove an adulterous encounter with a member of Congress or senior government official. Last month, Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.) preempted Flynt's planned disclosure by confirming past extramarital affairs, renouncing the House speakership and saying he would resign from Congress.
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company