Pa. Senate candidate testifies that his spouse “made up” her tales of his abuse and he “by no means” strangled her
Andrew Rush / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP Sean Parnell in a Butler County courthouse.
Leading Republican Senate candidate Sean Parnell testified in a Pennsylvania court Monday, denying the reports of physical and emotional abuse his estranged wife, Laurie Snell, made in the ongoing trial last week for custody of the couple’s three young children.
“Have you ever strangled your wife?” Parnell’s attorney asked during a hearing Monday in Butler County, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
“Never,” said Parnell, 40. “It just wasn’t a good relationship.”
When asked if he ever got “physical” with Snell as she claimed, Parnell also said “never”.
On November 1, Snell testified on oath that Parnell had strangled her on various incidents, slapped one of her children hard enough to leave a mark under the child’s T-shirt, and slammed a door that made her swing and that Face of a child beats and injured.
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“He tried to strangle me on a couch and I literally had to bite him,” to get free, Snell told the judge last week, according to local media reports. “He strangled me.”
Monday’s hearing included cross-examining Snell and questioning Parnell directly on his first opportunity to contradict his wife’s allegations.
Parnell had tried unsuccessfully to keep the case a secret; Now the details have tarnished an important candidacy for one of the Senate seats in Pennsylvania.
Parnell, an eminent Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, announced his candidacy in May. He is looking for the seat of Republican Pat Toomey, who will not run for re-election next year.
In September, Parnell received the coveted support of former President Donald Trump, whose approval in Republican primaries is often crucial.
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Parnell said Monday that it has been “a very rough week for my family” since Snell made her testimony claiming his troubling behavior started just months after their date in 2008 and continued until they did separated 10 years later.
“When he started beating the children in 2018, that was the last straw,” said Snell in court. Their children are 8, 11 and 12 years old.
Parnell’s attorney, Kristen Batson Eberle, pointed out in court Monday that Snell’s previous custody files had mentioned no abuse, “no allegation” of violence and “no allegation of child safety concern,” the Inquirer reported.
Eberle also said that Snell’s application for a protection order in 2018 contained two allegations of violence against the children, which were denied by a judge.
Parnell’s attorney questioned Snell about messages she sent in 2019 stating that she would support Parnell’s candidacy for Congress in 2020 and knock on the door for him if he agreed to continue making mortgage payments on the house in which she and her children are still alive.
Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the Republican National Committee 2020 via Getty
“This was a tricky time, but yeah, I said that,” Snell reportedly said on Monday.
Snell also testified that Parnell loves his children and that “he is a great father in public”.
Regarding the alleged incident that stained one of her children, Parnell said that a photo of a child’s back that was presented as evidence was not of his son.
He also denied the allegation that he slammed a door so hard it slammed his child in the face, adding that the boy was scared and accidentally injured himself on the door before Parnell hugged the child and apologized.
Parnell testified that Snell’s version of the incident was “fabricated”.
“Laurie wasn’t even there,” he said.