Local political watchers react to a lawsuit filed against a woman who allegedly broke up the marriage of former congressman Chip Pickering.
Leisha Pickering, Chip's estranged wife, is suing Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd for alienation of affection, claiming her affair with the congressman led to the break-up of the Pickerings' marriage.
Chip Pickering issued a statement in response to the lawsuit:
"I still believe it is in the best interest of our five boys if our differences are resolved privately and before the appropriate court and not in the media. For that reason, I will not comment further."
During his years in office, the Republican lawmaker turned lobbyist had a squeaky clean image. He was considered a rising star in the GOP.
Newscenter 11 talked to Meridian attorney and fellow Republican Rick Barry, a longtime friend. Barry said he hasn't had a conversation with Pickering about the alleged affair, but for now he's giving him the benefit of the doubt.
As for what this does to Pickering's reputation, Barry said the former lawmaker's record while serving will stand regardless of a possible affair.
Political analyst Dr. Kathy Baxter said she believes this story is a sign of the times. She said politicians are held to such a high standard that they can rarely live up to it.
Baxter said she doesn't approve of extra-marital affairs, but simply saying that this is nothing new in the political world, just more heavily reported.