Sanford: I was at ex-wife's house to watch Super Bowl

This post was updated at 2:12 p.m. ET

Mark Sanford, the former Republican governor of South Carolina who is now seeking one of the state's congressional seats in an upcoming special election, landed in hot water Tuesday after the disclosure of court documents alleging that Sanford was found by his ex-wife Jenny Sanford at her house -- a violation of their divorce settlement.

Now, he is explaining that the kerfuffle -- which comes just weeks before the May 7 special election that will make or break Sanford's political comeback -- happened because he wanted to spend time with his son.

"It's an unfortunate reality that divorced couples sometimes have disagreements that spill over into family court," Sanford explained in a statement. "I did indeed watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14 year old son because, as a father, I didn't think he should watch it alone."

"Given [Jenny Sanford] was out of town, I tried to reach her beforehand to tell her of the situation that had arisen, and met her at the back steps under the light of my cell phone when she returned and told her what had happened," he said.

Sanford said he was "particularly curious" about the timing of the revelation, given the fast-approaching special election, but added, "I agree with Jenny that the media is no place to debate what is ultimately a family court matter, and out of respect for Jenny and the boys, I'm not going to have any further comment at this time."

Despite Sanford's explanation, the National Republican Congressional Committee, which assists Republicans in House races, announced Tuesday that it would not be helping Sanford's campaign. "Mark Sanford has proven he knows what it takes to win elections," said NRCC communications director Andrea Bozek. "At this time, the NRCC will not be engaged in this special election."

The complaint registered by Jenny Sanford in court, which was first obtained by the Associated Press, said the former governor was caught by his ex-wife leaving her home through the back door, using his cell phone as a flashlight. Under the terms of their divorce settlement, Jenny and Mark Sanford are barred from entering each other's homes without permission.

Sanford is trying to make a comeback after his political career was sidelined in 2009 after confessing an extramarital affair. As a sitting governor, he disappeared from the state for five days only to return and confess to an affair with an Argentine woman, Maria Chapur. He and Jenny Sanford soon divorced and he is now engaged to Chapur who lives in Argentina.

In December of 2011, there was another complaint against Mark Sanford brought by Jenny Sanford saying he had not made the $5,000 yearly contribution for one of their son's college education. Jenny Sanford said Tuesday that the matter has been resolved but would not comment further.

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.