Mark Sanford has responded to his ex-wife's allegations that he trespassed on her property, saying he went to her house to watch the Super Bowl with his son.
"It's an unfortunate reality that divorced couples sometimes have disagreements that spill over into family court. I did indeed watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14-year-old son because as a father I didn't think he should watch it alone," the former governor said in a statement today.
"Given she was out of town I tried to reach her beforehand to tell her of the situation that had arisen, and met her at the back steps under the light of my cell phone when she returned and told her what had happened," Sanford said.
A judge has ordered a hearing for May 9, two days after Sanford's House election, at which Sanford will have to explain why he came to the house. Jenny Sanford's attorney, Deena Smith McRackan, filed a complaint on March 21, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.
According to the documents, Jenny Sanford's attorney alleged that after returning home from an out-of-state trip with one of her sons, Jenny Sanford found her ex-husband leaving her house through the back door, using his cell phone as a flashlight, violating a divorce agreement that neither Jenny nor Mark should enter the other's property without permission.
Jenny Sanford's attorney had alleged trespassing before. In February 2011, her attorney sent a letter to Sanford alleging he had "repeatedly entered onto her property after she advised you that you should not come."
In his statement today, Sanford raised the question of why court documents have surfaced so close to his election. Having won a primary and primary run-off, Sanford will face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch on May 7 in the final round of his bid to reclaim South Carolina's First Congressional District House seat, which he represented in the 1990s. The hearing is set for May 9.
"There is always another side to every story, and while I am particularly curious how records that were sealed to avoid the boys dealing with embarrassment are now somehow exposed less than three weeks before this election. I agree with Jenny that the media is no place to debate what is ultimately a family court matter, and out of respect for Jenny and the boys, I'm not going to have any further comment at this time," Sanford said.
Jenny Sanford told the Associated Press that the timing of the complaint had nothing to do with her ex-husband's run for elected office.