Just a few days after asserting that his past troubles with domestic violence, steroid use, alimony, and the IRS were “not an embarrassment” to the Democratic Party, Illinois Lt. Governor candidate Scott Lee Cohen took to a local bar to announce his exit from the race.
Cohen’s departure was to be expected after a shocking appearance on regional program Chicago Tonight, where last week he tried to dispel rumors of domestic violence, tax issues, attempted rape, steroid use, and not paying his alimony in time – by bringing his ex-wife, Debra York Cohen, on the air to confirm them all. There, host Phil Ponce did a superb job of carefully extracting from his subjects every last shocking detail, from his divorce proceedings to the legal albeit seedy fact that Cohen owns a pawn shop.
It took very little prodding for Cohen to initially accuse his ex-girlfriend (who he allegedly attacked with a knife) of a Jon Gosselin-style apartment wreckage: “She destroyed my apartment, so I had her locked up.” Oh, and he had no idea she was a prostitute, just an innocent “massage therapist.”
His ex-wife’s defense of him is even more damning. Are the allegations that he was using anabolic steroids and attempted to rape you, true, as per your testimony in the divorce proceedings? “That was who he was then, and that is not who he is now.” So, for now, we know that at least during some point in his life, Cohen was the type of man who abused drugs and would attempt marital rape. She tries to salvage his reputation when the question of alimony and child support comes up, but her fearful “I would rather not discuss that” does more to confirm his guilt than make us forget about the topic. Then Ponce asks if there’s anything else that could be an embarrassment to the ticket, just in case. Attempting to hide his outrage at being disparaged so openly, Cohen answers, “I do not believe I am an embarrassment to the ticket.”
The initial questions surrounding the Cohen case and his attempt at exonerating himself of his crimes by airing them so publicly involved his executive campaign staff: how could they have let Cohen be the one to dig his own political grave so spectacularly? There was no need to attempt to argue that his actions were not embarrassing, even though the crimes themselves would have sunk his campaign to begin with. This now leaves Illinois Democrats with a major vacancy in their gubernatorial ticket, which the Chicago Sun-Times is now reporting may go to Comptroller Dan Hynes, primary runner-up Art Turner, or one of the other primary candidates: State Senators Rickey Hendon and Terry Link, State Rep. Mike Boland and electrician Thomas Castillo.
Watch Cohen’s interview with Chicago Tonight below:
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