“Deliberately, and With Force”

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 4 2014 6:43 PM

“Deliberately, and With Force”

But he denies it.

Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

In 2012, Florida Rep. Alan Grayson won what appeared to be a safe seat in Congress. He'd won on the Obama wave in 2008, in a less friendly Orlando-area district. He lost in a landslide in 2010. The next cycle he spent big, raised big, and won against a weak Republican in a newly drawn, quite blue area. 

Last year, as he was establishing himself as a pretty effective marshall of the amendment process, Grayson and his wife, Lolita, drifted apart. Two months ago she filed for divorce. Now she's won an injunction against the congressman, alleging that he shoved her in a domestic dispute. Jeff Weiner, who's seen a redacted version of the injunction, reports that it portrayed Grayson as an aggressor and his wife fighting back (kneeing him in the stomach) during a dispute. But Weiner also reports this:

"Sadly, it was Ms. Grayson who physically attacked the Congressman as he attempted to visit with his children. He did not respond to Ms. Grayson's violent assault," the statement said.
It added that Lolita Grayson has become "increasingly erratic" since filing for divorce, and her husband "is deeply concerned by her recent behavior and is profoundly pained by her accusations."
Juan Lopez, the congressman's director of constituent services, told the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday that he was present at the Grayson home Saturday and watched the incident from about 15 feet away.
Lopez said Alan Grayson never shoved or struck his wife: "Absolutely not. ... It's just unfortunate that this is happening and that she would say something like this."

That's not murky. That's the congressman's office totally denying the charges. Other politicians have been brought down by accusations like this (Blair Hull in Illinois), and others have survived because the revelation looked to be timed in a sleazy manner (Sherrod Brown in Ohio). But few politicians outrage the other side's partisans like Grayson does, and he was already targeted in a half-million-dollar ad buy by Americans for Prosperity.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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