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Doug Hampton Details Ensign Affair in 'Nightline' Interview

5 years ago
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Doug Hampton, the husband of the aide who carried on an extended extramarital relationship with Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), told ABC's "Nightline" that he discovered the affair in a 2007 text message between his wife and Ensign, the Associated Press reports. Most of the details Hampton covers have gradually come out since Ensign admitted the affair in June, but Hampton gave a more intimate look at how Ensign reacted when he was confronted about his relationship with Cynthia Hampton.

Hampton said he confronted Ensign, a longtime friend, when both families were gathered for Christmas Eve. "John cries like a kid. Puts his head in his hands, cries like a little boy," Hampton said, adding that he now believes Ensign's initial remorse was disingenuous. During a trip to Iraq in February 2008, Hampton, who worked for the senator, said he borrowed Ensign's cell phone to make a call and realized the affair was still going on.

Hampton also believes that Ensign violated the law when he tried to land Hampton a consulting job outside of Washington to keep the affair quiet, a charge examined in an October New York Times story. Hampton took several lobbying jobs and, in alleged violation of Senate rules, immediately returned to Washington to lobby with the full knowledge of Ensign's office. Ensign also paid the Hampton family nearly $100,000 when both of them lost their jobs because of the affair.

"I truly wish that I could publicly respond to each one of Doug Hampton's allegations," Ensign said after news of the interview broke. "They are full of half truths and untruths. I will cooperate with any investigation because I have not violated any law or Senate ethics rule. If Doug Hampton violated federal law and rules, I did not advise him to do so, I did not suggest that he do so, and I did not cooperate with his doing so."

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