- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Sen. Joni Ernst said in court filings that her ex-husband Gail assaulted her after she accused him of having an affair with their daughter’s babysitter, and his physical and verbal abuse played a major role in her passing on the chance to be President Trump’s running mate.

“We went through a very dark and troubling time in our marriage,” she said in court papers first reported by DMCityView, a news outlet in Des Moines.

The filings have since been sealed, the outlet reported.

Mrs. Ernst made the statements in filings responding to her ex-husband’s request for $4,000 per month in alimony payments and $10,000 for attorney fees.

“Joni is in a much better financial position to pay my attorney fees as I cannot afford to do so,” Mr. Ernst says in a court filing in which he notes that he served 28 years as an “Airborne Ranger” and she earns $14,500 per month.

He claims that he tried to be civil in their divorce, but also alleged that Mrs. Ernst has “walked around the house nude; laid out nude on the back patio; has attempt to crawl into bed naked with me at night.”

He accused her of directing “demeaning and vulgar” attacks at him.

And Mr. Ernst claims it wasn’t him that had an affair — it was Mrs. Ernst.

“I’ve never even danced with any other woman before I filed for divorce,” he said. “Joni had a sexual affair with one of her own soldiers while deployed from 03-04… She admitted to the affair, said she was sorry and begged me not to say anything.”

Mrs. Ernst paints a dramatically different picture in her response, saying the day after her husband assaulted her, a victims advocate urged her to go to a hospital to get treatment, but she did not go “because I was embarrassed and humiliated, and didn’t want anyone to know about the assault.”

Mrs. Ernst said the marriage soured at that point. She says he didn’t support her when she began to have success in politics and became the biggest breadwinner in the house.

“In the summer of 2016, I was interviewed by Candidate Trump to be vice president of the United States,” she said. “I turned Candidate Trump down, knowing it wasn’t the right thing for me or my family.”

Mrs. Ernst said her husband “gets verbally abusive” and threatened to divorce her if she ran for a second term in 2020.

She said she later discovered emails showing he and a “long-time girlfriend” had been planning their respective divorce and had “disgusting sexual discussions.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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