Two weeks after quitting as a White House speechwriter in the wake of allegations of domestic abuse, former Maine political operative David Sorensen released polygraph results that he says prove the accusations false.
Sorensen called on his ex-wife, Jessica Corbett, to take one as well or retract her claims that he abused her during their two-and-a-half year marriage.
Corbett has said she told the truth about Sorensen. Sorenson, meantime, has threatened to sue her.
“There’s a reason why he hasn’t done this in court,” Corbett said. “I’m not going to take a polygraph test, not going to respond to his ridiculousness.”
Sorensen responded, “I might still take her to court.”
Corbett has told the FBI and reporters that Sorensen physically abused her during a marriage that ended last September, claiming he put out a cigarette on her, grabbed her hair menacingly while on a boat, shoved her against a wall and intentionally ran over her foot with a car.
Sorensen claims that Corbett was the real abuser, often punching and tormenting him.
Corbett reacted with near disbelief that Sorensen issued a press release Monday declaring he had passed a polygraph test that he insisted proved she had made up domestic abuse allegations against him that caused him to lose his job working for President Donald Trump.
Sorensen said that rather than head to court to get to the truth, he figured it would be “much cheaper and quicker” to shell out $475 for a lie detector test.
Corbett said she is not surprised Sorenson passed a polygraph exam because she has seen a “calculated, disattached David” on many occasions during the years he served as a spokesman for Maine Republicans, skewering foes such as U.S. Sen. Angus King without betraying any emotions.
Sorensen called her view “a novel thought,” and pointed to how the country’s law enforcement agencies rely on polygraphs routinely because they are “nearly impossible to defeat.”
Jonathan Ober, the Virginia polygraph expert hired by Sorensen, said in a report there is less than one chance in a thousand that he is lying.
The American Polygraph Association claims the tests are 90 percent accurate. The American Psychological Assocation, on the other hand, says that “most psychologists agree that there is little evidence that polygraph tests can accurately detect lies.”
For Corbett, none of that matters much.
“The truth is already out there, no matter how desperately he try to spin it,” Corbett said. “It’s why he’s challenging me to beat him at a practiced, scripted polygraph rather than a lawsuit in a court of law.”
Sorensen resigned as a speechwriter Feb. 9 after a Washington Post story detailed Corbett’s charges against him.
“I really didn’t have a choice” except to step down, he said Monday, because in that type of high profile job, there’s no option to stay, causing trouble and distraction for a White House that has so many important issues to deal with daily.
“It was important to handle this on my own time,” Sorensen said.
Corbett said when she decided to tell reporters about the domestic abuse she said she suffered from Sorensen, she knew he would come after her.
“He’s relentless,” she said, and wants to dra g her name through the mud.
She said she would prefer to put the “flaming dumpster fire in her rearview mirror” rather than engage in a back-and-forth with her ex-husband.
Sorensen said despite Corbett’s charges, the reality is that she hit him, not vice versa, and that he is the victim of domestic abuse during their marriage.
A longtime friend of Corbett’s saw one ugly incident when the pair visited him in Florida for a big football game.
Robert Foster Jr. wrote an email describing a scene where he saw Corbett, whom he had known for years, tearing into her husband.
“She yelled. She hit. She punched. She took her engagement ring off and threw it in his face. She spat at him. She threw drinks in his face,” Foster said.
“But I never saw him do anything worse than call her names. He was absolutely verbally abusive but never physically,” he said.
“The weekend was truly eye-opening to her lying and manipulative behavior,” Foster said. “And while he lost his temper it was only in reaction to her, understandable in context, and not at all illegal.”
Corbett said Sorensen lies repeatedly, and no one should fall for what he says.
“Politics is a grimy game,” she said, and he’s a professional at it.
Corbett said many Republican insiders know she’s telling the truth but don’t want to suffer the consequences of defending her in public.
“For me to be telling the truth is inconvenient to a lot of people,” she said, but given the national movement to expose men who abuse women, she could not stay silent.
“She’s a vindictive ex-spouse,” Sorensen said.
Corbett said the polygraph is just a part of Sorensen’s strategy to squeeze her in the press.
Since he can’t risk going to court, she said, “he continues to harass and threaten me, just as he did when we were married.”
“It was this fear of this exact type of rage that kept me in a marriage where I feared for my life. It’s why women stay silent and consider themselves lucky to leave with little more than their lives and the hope of a second chance,” Corbett said.
She said she first mentioned the alleged domestic abuse when the FBI asked her about Sorensen during a background investigation last fall. She said she thought about whether she ought to mention it or not, then decided that even though “the truth is ugly and embarrassing,” she had to speak honestly.
Later, she told the story to The Washington Post, which led to Sorensen’s departure as a speechwriter working for Trump’s senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller.
Corbett said by then she had come to see how much character matters in politics, something that unfolded as she watched for a decade as Republican friends and allies learned to manipulate gullible voters into casting ballots for candidates who didn’t actually share the decency and family values of ordinary people.
“I didn’t think the party should be ceded to a hand of alt right racists,” Corbett said “This is nothing that I should stand for.”
Still, Corbett said, she wishes all of this could be behind her.
She said she does not want to fight with Sorensen.
“That’s why I divorced him,” Corbett said. “I’m so grateful to be free of him.”
The divorce papers, though, show he is the one who filed for divorce, which was finalized last September.
Corbett said she “let him file because I knew he’d be vindictive and go after everything, which he did,” including her health-care coverage, their boat and her car.
“What he didn’t account for in everything was that there was nothing that I wasn’t willing to give up to get away from him,” she said. “Nothing. Not even my car.”
David Sorensen (Sun Journal file photo)