by Max Brantley
In response to a series of questions from me, McDaniel's 2014 gubernatorial campaign aide Tricia Wallace released this statement about a filing in a Garland County
divorce custody dispute in which lawyer Andi Davis was asked by her former husband, Fred Day, whether she'd had a sexual relationship with McDaniel. She had declined to answer the question with a yes or no response.
DUSTIN McDANIEL’S STATEMENT ON PLEADING IN GARLAND COUNTY
“With respect to Ms. Davis, I met her during the 2010 campaign. I had limited interaction with her in 2011, some of which I regret to say was inappropriate.
I have no knowledge of the other allegations contained in this pleading.
My wife Bobbi and I love each other very much. I have been candid with her about this matter, and with much prayer, we have moved on with our life together. I hope the people of Arkansas will also accept my apology and know how honored I am to work for them everyday.”
More to come.
The issue was forced into the open with this filing Dec. 3 in Garland County, in a custody dispute filed by Andrea "Andi" Davis against her former husband Fred Day, from whom she was divorced in September 2010. Day asked Davis for a series of admissions. One of them asks: "Please admit that you had sexual relations with Attorney General of the state of Arkansas Dustin McDaniel in 2011 or 2012."
Davis responded: "Objection. The question asks for information irrelevant to the issues before the court and is asked solely to harass and annoy."
When I e-mailed McDaniel's office about this filing this morning, he said no one had asked about it. I posed the question of how he would respond. I was informed a response would be coming shortly from Wallace. As I began work on it, Roby Brock at Talk Business posted an item indicating he'd received a copy of the Wallace statement. She told me later that she'd begun receiving other calls after my inquiry. Perhaps they resulted from references to the filing on the blog yesterday. I removed them from a thread about a school finance case post until I could obtain comments.
Andi Davis has appeared in the pages of the Times previously. Early this year, Doug Smith wrote about a dispute she had with a Hot Springs judge. Davis said the judge had once ordered to wear a surgical mask to court and had remonstrated her for showing too much cleavage in court. She also turned up in the news when she was questioned, but not implicated, following the March shooting death of Maxwell Anderson of Hot Springs. FORGOT: She's also been one of the lawyers seeking to overturn the state school choice law in a federal case brought by Malvern families, a law McDaniel has been defending.
UPDATE: I reached Wallace who makes clear, if it wasn't already, that this news doesn't deter McDaniel from his plans. "He is running for governor."
She said this statement constituted all he intended to say on the subject of the relationship with Davis. I have inquired, among others, about when he broke the news to his wife, whether he expected to be a witness in the Davis case and what prompted the rather unusual course of admitting so directly to an indiscretion when asked. Wallace said McDaniel had not been asked nor did he expect to be asked to testify in the Garland County proceeding.
McDaniel was divorced from his wife Amanda in 2007 after almost nine years of marriage. They had a daughter. He married Bobbi Fowler in June 2009.
Davis was said to be in court this morning when I called.
What of Bill Halter, mentioned prominently as another Democratic candidate for governor in 2014?
"Bill Halter is on vacation with his wife and daughters," said spokesman Bud Jackson.