Jesse Jackson's Ex-Mistress Has No Regrets

"I told him that I had been dating someone else and that I was going to get engaged, get married and leave town," she says. "I just didn't know how to tell him that he was going to be a father again."

While Jackson was advising President Clinton in the heat of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Stanford told Jackson she was pregnant, but said another man was the father. But Stanford says Jackson soon realized the truth, and during this time he also decided not to enter the presidential race.

"I think he was concerned that because reporters were calling and asking about who the father of my baby was," she says. "His concern was that they would focus more on his personal life rather than his campaign platform."

The Affair Becomes Public Knowledge

Stanford left Washington for California in 1999 and that May, two weeks after Jackson made headlines by winning the release of three U.S. hostages in Serbia, Stanford gave birth to a baby girl.

For the next year and a half, Stanford says, he continued seeing her. Despite his busy schedule, Jackson was attentive to his daughter, visiting them in Los Angeles a couple of times a month.

Ashley strongly resembles her father, Stanford says.

"He was her father," Stanford says. "He was concerned about her just like any father would be. He checked on her, he came to visit her, he played with her, she knew he was Daddy."

A short while later, Stanford says, a tabloid called her, threatening to publish a story about the affair and Ashley. Jackson made a public statement about the affair, saying he accepted responsibility for his actions and he was sorry.

Stanford denies ever trying to blackmail Jackson for money. Both admit that his organization gave her $15,000 for moving expenses and another $20,000 for consulting fees, which Jackson has defended as legitimate business expenses.

Stanford, now working as a consultant for a billionaire friend of Jackson's, says she has no regrets.

"I know it's caused a lot of pain," she says. "I know it's caused a lot of problems for people, but she's here, and she's happy and she's healthy. I think it was a good decision."

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