Istook aide to cooperate with inquiry

By Nolan Clay and Michael McNutt Published: October 6, 2006
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A former congressional page is willing to talk to the FBI and the U.S. House Ethics Committee about former Rep. Mark Foley, his attorney said Thursday.

“He will answer fully and truthfully any questions put to him,” attorney Stephen Jones said.

Jordan Edmund, 21, has been working on Republican Rep. Ernest Istook’s gubernatorial campaign. Istook, of Warr Acres, admitted Thursday at a hastily called news conference the scandal has affected his campaign.

“Things are a distraction, but it doesn’t stop the momentum that we’ve been gaining,” Istook said.

Foley, a Florida Republican, resigned from Congress last week after it was learned he had exchanged lurid messages over the Internet with former male pages. Foley later admitted through his attorney he had made the exchanges and blamed alcohol.

Foley also revealed publicly for the first time he is gay but denied being a pedophile. He specifically denied through his attorney any sexual contact with minors.

ABC News first reported the story and posted on its Web site excerpts of the Internet exchanges.

Edmund’s name became public after an Oklahoma-based blogger identified him after discovering his screen name on ABC News’ Web site. ABC News admitted Thursday it had made a mistake.

In an excerpt attributed by the blogger as sent to Edmund, Foley allegedly said “strip down and get relaxed.”

Istook criticized the media Thursday for naming the campaign aide. Istook did not directly confirm the aide “may have been a victim of the wrongful behavior” of Foley.

However, Istook said he urged the man “to cooperate fully with law enforcement and the House Ethics Committee.”

He also said, “This is a young man who is bright and hardworking. He does not deserve the public embarrassment that he now faces. ... What he needs and deserves is Christian compassion.”

Istook said the aide’s status with the campaign “will be determined as we go along.”

Jones said Edmund has done nothing wrong.

“Jordan was a minor when the alleged events described in the media occurred,” Jones said. “He retained me ... to guide and assist him through a difficult investigative and media onslaught because he thought I might be able to help him.

“Jordan has authorized me to say that if he has any relevant information on the matters involving Congressman Foley, he will voluntarily present it to any appropriate official authority.”

Jones has experience with high-profile cases. He defended Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Jones confirmed he has been in contact with the FBI and that Edmund has left Oklahoma. Jones, a $5,000 contributor to Istook, said he is not being paid by the Istook campaign.

ABC News reported Foley had Internet sex with the former page before a vote. In one exchange, Foley wrote, “I miss you lots since san diego.” Edmund is from the San Diego area.

Also, ABC News reported some exchanges were in April 2003, when Edmund would have been 18.

Jones said he could not yet discuss the Internet messages. He also would not say whether Foley and Edmund ever met outside Congress.

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Lawyer of former page sends email to blogger
Internet sleuthing led blogger to former page
House ethics committee to investigate
Your thoughts?
Istook press conference
Istook statement



ORIGINAL STORY - from Thursday:
Istook aide may be victim in page scandal



What they say

Democrats

Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Lisa Pryor said Thursday a former U.S. House page who may be part of the scandal involving a former Florida congressman is “an unfortunate victim of predatory behavior that’s been covered up by the (U.S. House) Republican leadership.”

“My heart goes out to him. He’s the victim. He’s not the story,” Pryor said of the former page who is working in the campaign of U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Warr Acres.

“This is about corruption. It’s about a cover-up almost as egregious as the initial behavior,” Pryor said.

Republicans

Oklahoma Republican Party chairman Tom Daxon on Thursday described the scandal involving former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley as a “horrible situation.”

“I think what Ernest (Istook) said was the appropriate thing ... that he (the former page) needs to be left alone,” Daxon said.

Daxon said he doubts there’s any truth to allegations that the U.S. House’s leadership knew anything about Foley’s activities before it came to light last week.

“Anyone who consciously aided and abetted that in any way ... they need to resign.”

John Greiner, Capitol Bureau

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