Still spooked by the likelihood of a media firestorm, a Richland County family court judge has yet to reschedule a preliminary hearing in a divorce case that could feature S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley as a star witness.
Meanwhile speculation is swirling as to whether attorneys for Haley have been applying pressure on the judge to seal the case – or impose a gag order on the parties and their legal counsel.
More “transparency inaction” from Team Haley, right?
As FITS reported exclusively back in February, Jennifer Marchant is suing her husband – prominent S.C. State House lobbyist Larry Marchant – for divorce, alleging that he engaged in at least three extramarital affairs over the course of their marriage. One of those “affairs?” Marchant’s one-night-stand with then-S.C. Rep. Nikki Haley in Salt Lake City in 2008.
“On or about June 2, 2010, (Larry Marchant) publicly admitted to having an affair with a woman well-known to the parties and the citizens of the State of South Carolina,” the lawsuit reads. “(Jennifer Marchant) was humiliated and embarrassed by (her husband’s) public admission and was unable to appear in public for some time. Eventually, (Jennifer) conditionally forgave (Larry)’s adulterous behavior.”
Marchant has previously signed a sworn affidavit affirming his version of events – however Haley’s lawyers attacked this sworn statement because it was not offered within the context of a pending trial and (according to them) not subject to the state’s perjury law.
Meanwhile Haley has refused to sign an affidavit in support of her claim that she has been “100 percent faithful” to her husband for the duration of their 17-year marriage.
National politicos touting Haley as a prospective presidential candidate in 2016 have been eyeing the Marchant divorce case closely – eager to see whether the lobbyist stands by his story in open court (where in addition to facing perjury charges he stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars).
So far Marchant hasn’t made a peep about the hearing …
Originally scheduled to receive a preliminary hearing on February 20, the case was postponed due to the publicity our report generated. Nearly three months later, the judge in the case has yet to reschedule the hearing.
As we’ve noted from the beginning of this process we don’t expect a sitting governor to be hauled into court to testify as part of a divorce case – however it does appear likely that Haley could be forced to sit for a deposition.