Suspect, Agent Say Senator Had Affair With Intern - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

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Suspect, Agent Say Senator Had Affair With Intern

Joel Watts Joel Watts
Republican Sen. Paul Stanley Republican Sen. Paul Stanley
McKensie Morrison and Joel Watts McKensie Morrison and Joel Watts

NewsChannel 5 Investigates has uncovered new questions about a prominent Tennessee state senator and his relationship with a legislative intern.

And some of the questions are being raised by the young man who authorities claim tried to blackmail the senator.

It all comes as the day that Republican Sen. Paul Stanley of Memphis resigned his position as the chairman of a powerful Senate committee.

Stanley isn't talking, but has hinted that suggestions of an affair might be "misinformation."

Our chief investigative reporter Phil Williams first broke the story, and the young man accused of the extortion spoke to him exclusively.

"Republican Senator Paul Stanley has disgraced the conservative Republican Party," said 27-year-old Joel Watts.

Watts agonized over the statement that he read for Williams -- a statement about how his love for girlfriend McKensie Morrison led him into a very public showdown with Stanley.

"He has disrespected his family, fellow Tennesseans and Americans by abusing his power and going against the moral values he himself swore to uphold and protect," Watts continued.

Watts says the 47-year-old Stanley used his position to seduce the 22-year-old legislative intern.

"He was supposed to be a leader and had responsibilities as a leader to guide and direct his young interns in a correct manner. He did not. Instead, he abused his power and let us all down."

Watch related WEB EXTRA video
for Watts' full statement

Stanley, who's married with two children, went to the TBI back in April.

Agents later arrested Watts, accusing him of trying to extort $10,000 from the senator in exchange for some sexually explicit photos.

But Watts says it was the Memphis Republican who first suggested that he might buy the photos.

"I never wanted to jeopardize my friend McKensie's or my own integrity. All I wanted was an apology."

Stanley has refused to say if he was sexually involved with Morrison, only saying there's a lot of misinformation being circulated.

But in affidavits just obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates, a TBI agent wrote, under oath, that "Stanley subsequently advised he had a developed a sexual relationship with Morrison during her internship" and that he had taken photographs of her in his apartment.

Morrison also "acknowledged being in a sexual relationship with Stanley," the agent wrote.

Read TBI's agent's sworn affidavit
about Stanley-intern relationship (.pdf)

Watts speaks directly to his accuser: "Sen. Stanley, if you are listening, I think you owe your family, McKensie Morrison and America an apology."

Watts still faces a serious charge of extortion -- although a judge did dismiss a $10,000 theft charge against him.

In addition to reading the statement, Watts answered almost every question that Williams asked.

We'll have some of that interview tonight at 10 -- and even more Thursday at 6.

Back to NewsChannel 5 Investigates

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