Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons denied Thursday that he's having an affair despite his estranged wife's claims that he wants a divorce because of his involvement with another woman.
"Absolutely not, absolutely not," Gibbons said when asked whether he's having an affair with a woman separated from her husband, a Reno doctor. While not mentioning the woman's name, the governor said, "It's been a friendly relationship over all these years."
"And this is not something that I really feel that the public really ought to be involved in. This is really painful to go through, a process like this," Gibbons, 63, said at a news conference, referring to his Washoe County Family Court divorce proceedings that he's trying to keep private.
"I'm very sorry to the public that this has to be foisted upon their shoulders," the governor said of first lady Dawn Gibbons' claims. "It shouldn't be. It's unnecessary and it's untrue, and unfortunately it's very harmful to my family."
Asked whether the divorce he's seeking and the resulting publicity has had an impact on his ability to serve as governor, Gibbons said, "None. Not a bit," and then walked away from reporters at the news conference that began with him discussing wildland fires in Nevada.
Attorney Cal Dunlap, representing Dawn Gibbons, 54, said in a motion filed Wednesday in Family Court that Gibbons wants to end his marriage of nearly 22 years because of "his infatuation and involvement" with someone else.
Dunlap added Jim Gibbons' "fawning involvement" with the other woman has included making her "his frequent bar, lunch, dinner and even grocery store companion."
The attorney's comments were included in a motion challenging a judge's decision to seal the divorce case. Dunlap said the law cited by the judge in sealing the files violates both the U.S. Constitution and the Nevada Constitution.
Attorney Gary Silverman, representing Gibbons, declined to comment on Dunlap's challenge of the sealing order by Carson City District Judge Bill Maddox. The case was then transferred to Washoe County Family Court Judge Frances Doherty in Reno.
Gibbons also has asked for an order awarding him sole occupancy of the taxpayer-supported Governor's Mansion in Carson City. He's been staying at the couple's Reno home while Dawn Gibbons has remained in the mansion.
Dawn Gibbons has proposed that Gibbons could move back into the mansion and she would stay in a guest house on the grounds so she can continue her duties as first lady.
She also has filed a demand in court for a detailed explanation from the first-term Republican governor on why he feels they're incompatible. In his divorce complaint filed May 2, Gibbons listed incompatibility as grounds for ending the marriage.