MEDIA, Pa. (WTXF) - Pennsylvania congressman Patrick Meehan says he regrets not going to court to clear his name.
FOX 29's Jeff Cole sat down with him this week for a one-on-one interview.
"Are you trying to retaliate against her now—hurt her?" FOX 29's Jeff Cole asked. Rep. Patrick Meehan replied, "Not in one shape or the other. This is a person I care about deeply."
Facing a serious threat to his public career, Meehan is striking back, claiming he's been attacked and falsely accused of sexual harassment.
"Looking back on it I should have litigated it," Meehan said. "Yea, because you are claiming you didn't do anything wrong?" Cole asked. Meehan replied, "I should have litigated that case, but I felt that wasn't going to end up in a good place for her."
Instead, accused of being hostile to a long-time aide after she rejected his romantic advances, Meehan paid her "thousands of dollars" in taxpayer funds in what he says was severance for good work.
Three days after the bombshell broke in the New York Times, the former top county and federal prosecutor sat for lengthy interviews Tuesday saying the aide—decades younger—had become his "soul mate".
Meehan said, "I have feelings generated in that an attraction. Cole asked, "Did you have romantic feelings for this woman?" Meehan replied, "I did not have romantic feelings. It was a relationship—a very professional relationship."
The Republican—serving his third term-—released a letter he wrote to the woman in May after he'd learned she'd begun a relationship with someone outside his office.
Writing: "...I thank God for putting you into my life..." Signing it: "...With all my heart, Patrick..."
The Times reports Meehan became hostile.
Meehan said, "I wasn't hostile to her."
Meehan admits he signed an agreement to not talk about the case, but claims the woman's attorney broke it and says there was a request for money.
"Somebody came and asked for money for the young woman," Meehan said.
"Then what happened did you give the money?" Cole asked. Meehan replied, "No." Cole asked, "What happened next?" Meehan said "They went through the process that evolved through the compliance council."
The former aide's Washington lawyer says Meehan has violated the agreement not to talk and she's considering all legal options. She says her client will co-operate with the house ethics committee investigation.