State Senator Resigning Over Affair With Intern - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

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State Senator Resigning Over Affair With Intern

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Republican state Sen. Paul Stanley Republican state Sen. Paul Stanley

State Sen. Paul Stanley said he will resign from the Tennessee General Assembly after his affair with a 22-year-old legislative intern was revealed by an alleged extortion plot.

The extortion case was first revealed by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

In his resignation letter, the Germantown Republican said, "Due to recent events, I have decided to focus my full attention on my family and resign my Senate seat effective August 10."

On a Memphis radio station Stanley spoke about the crucial decision he made with his wife.

"Up until about an hour ago, my plan was to stay in the Senate and serve out my term. We jointly - just based on some things that had been going on today, just decided that the best thing to do for our family was for me to go ahead and resign," Stanley said.

After the extortion case first came to light, Stanley hinted that there might not have been a sexual relationship. Court records, uncovered by NewsChannel 5, show that 47-year-old Stanley told agents investigating the blackmail case that he had a sexual relationship with intern McKensie Morrison.

Police charged Morrison's boyfriend, Joel Watts, with trying to extort $10,000 from Stanley in April in return for photos and a video of the affair.

"After this incident took place, I sat my wife down and told her everything. Let me say she is an incredible person, and I love her very much. She has stood by me throughout my entire career and through our marriage," Stanley said.

Stanley and his wife are in marriage counseling. Sources said they are going to try and work things out.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and Shelby County GOP Chairman Lang Wiseman called on Stanley to resign.  

Stanley's resignation ends a legislative career that started with his election to the state House of Representatives in 2000. He served for three terms, before winning a vacant Senate seat three years ago.

A special election will be needed to fill Stanley's seat representing suburban Memphis. His resignation could shift the balance of power in the Republican controlled House.

Republican House Members from Stanley's district are expected to run. If they win they leave behind an empty House seat. The Shelby County Commission, packed with Democrats, will decide who sits there next.

(A story by The Associated Press was used in compiling this report. All Rights Reserved.)

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