Jim Gibbons, husband and governor extraordinaire

In divorce papers unsealed Monday, the wife of the Nevada governor accused him of infidelity with two women, one of whom is a former Playboy model.

Published April 7, 2009 4:02PM (EDT)

Even for connoisseurs of political sex scandals, the various imbroglios Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has found himself in throughout his career must seem remarkable. Yesterday, a Nevada court unsealed divorce papers filed by Gibbons' wife Dawn, in which she accused her spouse of infidelity with two women, one of whom is a former Playboy model. The governor filed for divorce last May.

Jim Gibbons has maintained that he is merely friends with the two women, despite the fact that in 2008 he was photographed embracing and holding hands with the former Playboy model, Leslie Durant. At the time, Gibbons said that, "She is helping me get through a very troubling time in my life by being a friend. What troubles me is all these people speculating every time I bump into somebody that happens to be of the opposite sex."

Dawn Gibbons' divorce papers also accused the governor of conducting an affair with Kathy Karrasch, a woman Jim Gibbons sent more than 800 text messages to in 2007 on his state cell phone. He then repaid the state $130 for the messages, all the while denying that they were "love notes."

In the court documents, Dawn Gibbons characterized his explanation of the text messages with Karrasch as being about state business as "laughable."

For his part, Jim Gibbons had less than kind words to share about his wife. In a motion on his client's behalf, the governor's lawyer wrote of Dawn Gibbons that "it was once said in another context that being in close quarters with such a volatile person was like being locked in a phone booth with an enraged ferret."

It's hard to see how this could end well for Gibbons, whose approval ratings are already in the tank. This is also not the first time he has made the news for his interactions with the opposite sex. During his run for governor in 2006, a Las Vegas cocktail waitress accused Gibbons of assaulting, propositioning and threatening to rape her. The waitress, Chrissy Mazzeo, then claimed that a member of Gibbons' staff had attempted to bribe her into dropping her accusations. Mazzeo has filed a lawsuit against Gibbons because of the incident.

By Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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