Mark Sanford faces contempt of court charge for trespassing

April 17, 2013 at 2:41 PM
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COLUMBIA, S.C., April 17 (UPI) -- Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has been ordered to explain in court why he should not be held in contempt for trespassing, court documents show.

Sanford, 52, who resigned as governor in 2011 after admitting an extramarital affair, is the Republican nominee in a special U.S. House election scheduled for May 7 -- two days before has must appear in Charleston County Family Court to explain why he "should not be held in contempt of court" for going to the home of his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, without her permission Feb. 3.

The court order, dated March 22, was obtained by the Political Wire website. It alleges Mark Sanford "has entered into a pattern of entering onto Plaintiff's property, both at her former and current residences, without her permission and against her wishes."

The document says Jenny Sanford, 50, returned to her home Feb. 3 after visiting one of her children out of state, and found Mark Sanford "exiting her residence through the rear door, using his phone as a flashlight."

Mark Sanford issued a statement Wednesday saying he went to his ex-wife's home Feb. 3 to watch the second half of the Super Bowl with the former couple's 14-year-old son, "because as a father I didn't think he should watch it alone."

In the statement, Mark Sanford said he tried to contact Jenny Sanford "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."

The former governor -- who is running against Democratic nominee Elizabeth Colbert Bush to fill a congressional vacancy created when former Rep. Tim Scott was appointed to replace retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint -- said in the statement he is "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."

Politico reported Wednesday the National Republican Congressional Committee has determined Sanford is unlikely to win the May 7 election and will not provide further funding to his campaign.

"Mark Sanford has proven he knows what it takes to win elections," NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek said. "At this time, the NRCC will not be engaged in this special election."

Jenny Sanford told The (Columbia, S.C.) State Tuesday her main focus is "raising my children," not her ex-husband's congressional campaign.

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