You know, I thought North Carolina got rid of its alienation of affection law. I guess not since a former Apex city council member is suing state House Speaker Tim Moore for breaking up his marriage. And, man, is it salacious.
While the details are juicy, the affair isn’t the problem. It might be a headache, but not career ending. The GOP and its evangelical base have sanctioned paying hush money to porn stars. Hell, the GOP base has been getting screwed by Republican leaders for years and they keep asking for more (no pun intended). A simple affair with a married woman seems tame in comparison.
No, the problem for Moore lies in the allegations that he had an affair with an at-will state employee who believes she got preferential treatment because of the sex and was concerned the Speaker would take it out on her and her organization, the North Carolina Conference of Clerks of Superior Court, if she ended the affair. The allegation also alleges that Moore and his paramour, Jamie Liles Lassiter, had group sex with other people seeking favors from Moore. Trading sex for political favors could force Moore out.
Moore has denied the allegations and Liles Lassiter says that the couple has been separated for years. The jilted husband, Scott Lassiter, claims that the couple were living together until January of this year. His wife told WRAL, “We are reaching the end of our divorce process and this is how he’s lashing out.”
All of that should be verifiable. Either they have a separation agreement or they don’t. They can’t be nearing the end of the divorce if, as Scott Lassiter says, they separated on January 11 because, in North Carolina, couples must be separated for a year before a divorce proceedings can begin. It’s hard to believe that attorneys would file a suit like that if they knew a separation agreement was in place. Lassiter is represented by former Wake County District Court Judge Kristin Ruth.
Timing of the lawsuit is bad for Moore. He’s in the middle of budget negotiations and trying to get the legislature out of town. This lawsuit will certainly be a distraction unless Liles Lassiter can quickly prove that she and her husband have been separated for years, as she claims. Regardless, the week is off to a rough start for the Speaker.
After Tricia Cotham switched parties rumors swirled that Moore and Cotham were involved in a romantic relationship. Even if it was true, both were not married. I never believed she switched parties because of a relationship with Moore, though she does seem to drawn to men in powerful political positions. Cotham married Jerry Meek when he was chair of the state Democratic Party.
These allegations, though, are much more serious if they’re true. They claim an abuse of power in addition to alienation of affection. They also insinuate a pattern of trading sex for preferential treatment. The lawsuit says Moore had group sex with people seeking favors from him. Scott Lassiter and his attorneys will need to come up somebody to corroborate those allegations.
The end of session just got a lot more interesting.