Hyde lied, says former lover

House Judiciary Committee chairman Henry Hyde lied about his adulterous affair, charges his ex-lover

Published September 18, 1998 7:00PM (EDT)

House Judiciary Committee chairman Henry Hyde's former lover charged that he lied in his public statement about his affair with her. On Wednesday Hyde told Salon that the extramarital relationship ended when the woman's husband, Fred Snodgrass, confronted Hyde's wife, five years after the affair began. But Thursday Hyde's former lover, Cherie Soskin, now 62 and a resident of San Antonio, Texas, challenged Hyde's account. According to her grown daughter, Soskin said the affair continued for at least two and a half years after Hyde's wife, Jeanne, was told of the relationship.

"My mother is very mad about Henry Hyde's statement -- she thinks it belittles the importance of their relationship," said her daughter, who asked that her name not be published because of the media firestorm surrounding the story. "Hyde called it a 'youthful indiscretion,' like it was just a fling or something. What a laugh. My mother said it was a long-term relationship."

Hyde was 41 years old when his affair with Soskin began in 1965, and by her account was nearly 50 when the sexual relationship finally ended. Hyde's committee will decide whether President Clinton's sexual misbehavior and his efforts to keep it secret should be grounds for possible impeachment.

Soskin was trying to keep a low profile on Thursday as reporters throughout the country began hunting for her. She did not return a phone call from Salon. But in an interview with her hometown newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News, Soskin said Hyde also lied to her about his marital status during their affair. "I did not know he was married," she told the newspaper. "He portrayed himself as a single person, and I didn't bother to check or anything like that."

Soskin told her daughter that she knew Hyde was involved in at least one other adulterous relationship besides the one he had with her.

Soskin told the Express-News that her marriage with Fred Snodgrass was falling apart when she met Hyde, whom she called Hank. Snodgrass, whose account of the affair in Wednesday's Salon set off a political furor in Washington, again blasted Hyde on Thursday. "He had an affair with a young woman with three children," said Snodgrass. "At least the president didn't do that."

By David Talbot

David Talbot, the founder of Salon, is the author of New York Times bestsellers like "Brothers," "The Devil's Chessboard," and "Season of the Witch." His most recent book is "Between Heaven and Hell: The Story of My Stroke."

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