The woman who released a nude photo of Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton first began her relationship with him as a “politics connection.”
“I was in it for the politics connection,” the unidentified woman who was in possession of the photo told The Washington Post Wednesday. “I was kind of unwittingly drawn into it with him because of just the amazement of having a connection to a congressman,” she said.
The woman also shared with The Post the recording of a phone conversation in which Barton threatened action if she went to the public with the photos. Barton believes a crime has been committed against him, and that the distribution of the picture on social media amounts to revenge porn, which is against the law in Barton’s home state. (RELATED: Joe Barton Confirms, Apologizes For Nude Selfie Going Around)
“I want your word that this ends,” Barton told the woman in the recorded call. “I will be completely straight with you. I am ready if I have to, I don’t want to, but I should take all this crap to the Capitol Hill Police and have them launch an investigation. And if I do that, that hurts me potentially big time.”
“Why would you even say that to me?” Barton’s former lover said. “The Capitol Hill police? And what would you tell them, sir?”
Barton said: “I would tell them that I had a three-year undercover relationship with you over the internet that was heavily sexual and that I had met you twice while married and had sex with you on two different occasions and that I exchanged inappropriate photographs and videos with you that I wouldn’t like to be seen made public, that you still apparently had all of those and were in position to use them in a way that would negatively affect my career. That’s the truth.”
Barton admitted to being in a nude photo that circulated earlier this week online, and apologized for letting his constituents down in a statement Wednesday. Barton said that during his separation with his second wife but before their divorce he had several consensual relationships with “other mature adult women” and that those relationships had now ended.
“I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down,” Barton said in his statement.
The relationship started online in 2011 when she made a comment on Barton’s Facebook page, according to the woman. At one point, “He says to me, ‘Do you want me to send you a picture of myself?’ I said, ‘Oh no, no. Please do not do that.’ It kind of started there,” the anonymous woman said.
After he apparently began sending her nude pics, the two met in Washington, D.C., sometime in 2012 and reportedly slept together. Barton paid for her travel. They rendezvoused once more in Texas in 2014, with Barton again paying the bill. The woman also shared a 30-second video of Barton masturbating and text messages with The Post.
While several high profile politicians have been accused of sexual harassment and impropriety — including Democratic Sens. Al Franken and John Conyers, and Judge Roy Moore, GOP candidate for Senate in Alabama — the woman who released the Barton picture and masturbation video does not appear to accuse Barton of unwanted sexual contact.
“It’s not normal for a member of Congress who runs on a GOP platform of family values and conservatism to be scouring the internet looking for a new sexual liaison,” the woman told The Post while explaining her reasons for speaking out.
Barton has been endorsed by a number of conservative family groups, including Family Research Council, the Christian Coalition of America, and Concerned Women for America, according to a post on his campaign website.
There is no federal law against releasing privately shared nude or sexual images, but the Texas “revenge porn” law that went into effect in 2015 classifies the public sharing of sexually explicit photos that were sent with the expectation of privacy as a class A misdemeanor.
Barton told The Post that the conversations and quotes the woman gave may be “evidence” of a “potential crime against me,” and that he has indeed gone to the Capitol Police requesting they investigate.
“This woman admitted that we had a consensual relationship,” Barton said. “When I ended that relationship, she threatened to publicly share my private photographs and intimate correspondence in retaliation. As the transcript reflects, I offered to take the matter to the Capitol Hill Police to open an investigation. Today, the Capitol Police reached out to me and offered to launch an investigation and I have accepted. Because of the pending investigation, we will have no further comment.”
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