The situation of Paul Stanley, the Shelby County state senator involved in a blackmail/sex scandal with his former legislative intern plumbed new depths Wednesday with the proliferation of new revelations damaging to his reputation and to his previous explanations.
First of all, Stanley’s self-description of himself as “victim” dissolved utterly with the widespread publication during the day of the initial summary by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on the incident, written last April. Though Tuesday’s initial reports had left some doubt as to the origin of the “explicit” photographs of Stanley’s young paramour, the TBI document leaves no doubt: Stanley himself was the culprit behind the camera.
Here’s the relevant section, from TBI agent Doug Long, relating Stanley’s original description of his predicament::
“…During an interview with Stanley, he advised [McKensie] Morrison was an intern in his legislative office. Stanley subsequently advised he had developed a sexual relationship with Morrison, during her internship. During the interview, Stanley acknowledged taking a photograph(s) of Morrison in Stanley's apartment….”
Long subsequently would arrest Joel Watts, the 27-year-old boy friend of Morrison and Stanley’s accused blackmailer after the legislator paid Watts $10,000 at a pre-arranged TBI sting location in Nashville, receiving a disc of photographs of Morrison in return.
And, to add insult to Paul Stanley’s injury, Watts or his legal advisor(s) released a videotaped statement Wednesday in which Watts, who had a charge of theft dismissed on Monday but still faces charges of extortion, actually addressed Stanley from a high horse of moral righteousness, calling Stanley "disgraced" and demanding that the legislator apologize to Wattts himself, to the Republican Party, and to "America." Indeed, said Watts in what has to be a new record for chutzpah, all he had ever wanted from Stanley was the aforesaid apology, thereby equating his mark's statement of contrition with a cool ten-grand payoff for Watts himself.
(To render null and void any possible doubt as to Watts' intentions regarding that payoff, the TBI also released a transcript of emails a greedily impatient Watts sent to Stanley as he waited for the legislator at the designated payoff point, just off an exit ramp on Interstate 24 north of Nashville.)
Also on Wednesday, Stanley resigned his chairmanship of the Senate Commerce Committee. The move came as something of an anticlimax as his troubles mounted and the likelihood rose that Stanley will be forced to resign from the legislature altogether.