DesJarlais divorce papers show abuse accusations

NASHVILLE - A Washington-based newspaper reported Thursday that the ex-wife of 4th Congressional District Republican candidate Scott DesJarlais accused him of harassment, intimidation and physical abuse during their divorce.

Roll Call, which covers Congress, said the accusations are contained in Marion County Chancery Court motions filed in 2000 and 2001 by Susan DesJarlais against her husband, a Jasper physician who is challenging U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn.

The couple's divorce was finalized in 2001.

DesJarlais campaign manager Brent Leatherwood said in an e-mail to the Chattanooga Times Free Press that DesJarlais' ex-wife's charges were false and accused Davis, a four-term incumbent, of peddling the story to Washington reporters and engaging in "gutter" politics.

"Obviously, our poll numbers have Lincoln Davis running scared if he is dredging up one-sided accusations from a decade-old divorce that were shown to be untrue," Leatherwood said.