Governor apologizes for text messages

Gov. Jim Gibbons, seeking a divorce from first lady Dawn Gibbons, apologized Wednesday for using a state-owned cell phone to send more than 860 text messages over several weeks last year to a woman he says is a longtime friend.

Gibbons also said "no" when asked whether the messages were "love notes" to the estranged wife of a Reno doctor. He has been seen in Reno several times with the woman since his martial troubles with Dawn Gibbons became public.

The first-term Republican governor said Wednesday he doesn't see the woman anymore "simply because of the stress and all of this. The media has put a tremendous burden on her."

"I do not see her. I do not text," he said during a brief news conference.

In describing the messages, Gibbons said they ranged from discussions of state matters to "what's happening with her to her kids, what the latest issue is with her dog." He also said most of the messages were sent after his usual office hours.

Records obtained by the Reno Gazette-Journal revealed the text messages, but not their content.

Asked whether the text-messaging interfered with his job as governor, Gibbons said, "I'm a person who sleeps very little, probably two or three hours a night. I'm constantly sitting there with my mind turning and thinking about issues, and often times I will text people at one, two, four, six in the morning."

While saying it was wrong to use a state cell phone, Gibbons defended his messaging with the woman, saying, "I don't know if anybody should tell you or me who your friends can and cannot be. And this is a friendship of many, many years."

The mistake, Gibbons said, was to use a state cell phone to run up bills totaling $130, adding, "When I realized the state was getting charged for it, I immediately ceased and paid the bills when they came due."

"I have to admit, I made a mistake and that's where it's at," he said.

Gibbons declined to go into more details about the text-messaging, saying, "I don't recall, a year-and-a-half worth of time having lapsed in this. And I 'm not going to talk about it because they do relate directly to the divorce."

In a court brief filed two weeks ago, Dawn Gibbons accused her husband of ending their 22-year marriage because of his "infatuation and involvement" with the wife of a Reno doctor. That woman has never been officially named by Dawn Gibbons or her lawyer.

The governor also said he uses a personal cell phone to text-message many people. While he didn't have an idea of how many messages he sends and receives, Gibbons said, "It's a simple, easy, quick, efficient way to respond to people."


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