CHARLESTON — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford must appear in court two days after running for a vacant congressional seat to answer a complaint that he trespassed at his ex-wife’s home, according to court documents acquired by The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The complaint said Jenny Sanford confronted Sanford leaving her Sullivans Island home on Feb. 3 by a rear door, using his cell phone for a flashlight. Her attorney filed the complaint the next day and Jenny Sanford confirmed Tuesday the documents are authentic.
The couple’s 2010 divorce settlement said neither may enter the other’s home without permission. Mark Sanford lives about a 20-minute drive away in downtown Charleston.
Republican Mark Sanford is trying to revive his political career that was derailed by an extramarital affair that ended the couple’s marriage. He faces Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch on May 7 as he tries to regain the 1st District congressional seat he held for three terms in the 1990s.
Spokesman Joel Sawyer said the Sanford campaign had no immediate comment on the court documents.
The complaint filed by Jenny Sanford’s lawyer, Deena Smith McRackan, said that Mark Sanford has “entered into a pattern of entering onto plaintiff’s property. Plaintiff has informed defendant on a number of occasions that this behavior is in violation of the court’s order and has demanded that it not occur again.”
In Febuary of 2011, McRackan sent a letter to Mark Sanford telling him not to trespass on Jenny Sanford’s property. A copy of that letter was also sent to the local police, according to court filings.
Jenny Sanford said Tuesday that she has custody of the couple’s four boys.
She said the complaint has nothing to do with her former husband’s efforts to rebuild his career in politics. She said it was filed with the court the day after the incident and when a family court judge last month set the case for the docket, it happened to be two days after the election.
“I am doing my best not to get in the way of his race,” Jenny Sanford told the AP. “I want him to sink or swim on his own. For the sake of my children I’m trying my best not to get in the way, but he makes things difficult for me when he does things like trespassing.”
Sanford is trying to make a comeback after his political career was sidelined in 2009 after confessing an extramarital affair. As a sitting governor, he disappeared from the state for five days only to return and confess to an affair with an Argentine woman, Maria Chapur. He and Jenny Sanford soon divorced and he is now engaged to Chapur who lives in Argentina.
A spokesman for Colbert Busch said that the campaign had no comment on the dispute between the Sanfords.
In December of 2011, there was another complaint against Mark Sanford brought by Jenny Sanford saying he had not made the $5,000 yearly contribution for one of their son’s college education. Jenny Sanford said Tuesday that the matter has been resolved but would not comment further.