Judge delays hearing on Austin Scott divorce papers until December

WMAZ-TV in Macon is reporting that the divorce papers of Republican congressional candidate Austin Scott will remain sealed — at least until well after the Nov. 2 election:

A Tift County judge won’t rule until at least Dec. 6 on whether congressional candidate Austin Scott’s divorce records will be unsealed.

After hearing arguments on both sides, the judge ruled this morning that Scott and his ex-wife, Annette Jordan, hadn’t had 30 days to respond to the suit brought by a Democratic activist.

Their lawyers told the judge that Scott and his wife were served with court papers on Oct. 12 and 16.

Judge Bill Reinhardt said he was aware of “the elephant in the room” — the Nov. 2 election for the 8th Congressional District seat — but said the law is the law.

Macon attorney Carmel Sanders filed the motion to make the records public on behalf of her client, Amy Morton. She argues that Scott, a Republican state representative, got special treatment when the divorce records were sealed in 2004. They also say no hearing was held on whether to seal the records, as required by law.

Scott is locked in a tight race with U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Macon.

Mike Stucka of the Macon Telegraph adds this to the mix:

Sanders said Scott’s attorney, Gregory Sowell of Tifton, had already told the judge he planned to appeal if he lost, which would also keep the records closed longer.

“Bottom line is, they would have done anything to keep us from getting those records today,” Sanders said. “They just want to get past the election. There’s clearly something so damning in those records, they don’t want anyone to know.”

Updated at 5:30 p.m.:Sam Ray, the Scott campaign spokesman called this afternoon to say that Scott had not intended to appeal any court decision — but that his ex-wife had planned to do so.

And Doug Moore, spokesman for the Marshall campaign, sent this:

“Georgia law requires that public records be open to public inspection even if they include damaging information like the rumors circulated by Republicans about Scott’s divorce records. Since these divorce records will eventually be opened, Jim’s thought all along that Scott should simply open them if they disprove the rumors.”

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40 comments Add your comment


October 26th, 2010
12:11 pm

Now can we get back to specific plans for the budget problems we face like, “Mr. Scott could you give us one US Government program you would eliminate to balance the budget?”

Question Man

October 26th, 2010
12:15 pm

Or, Mr. Scott, can you give us one tax you would implement to raise revenue and thereby help balance the budget?


October 26th, 2010
12:18 pm

? Man, that would be nice too


October 26th, 2010
12:20 pm

If I was a betting man, I would be that if Marshall wins the election this suit would suddenly get dropped.

Rafe Hollister

October 26th, 2010
12:22 pm

OR, we could get back to the campaign and ask Jim Marshall, why he doesn’t change parties, since he claims not to believe in anything the Dems try to push thru congress.


October 26th, 2010
12:31 pm

galloway can not take the truth so he changes to a different topic.


October 26th, 2010
12:36 pm

Can we please have dirt on the awful woman who has nothing better to do than bring this to Court? Surely this charming balanced woman must have some interesting dirt that can be aired. She has made herself aublic figure and obviously thinks dirt should be aired. AJC, can you please find and print?

Last Man Standing

October 26th, 2010
12:41 pm


I’m afraid that you are in for a very long wait! The AJC isn’t going to print anything critical about a democrat “activist”.


October 26th, 2010
12:56 pm

‘Po ole Carmel Sanders an her mean ole client…….anothna ‘dafeat…..what’s a po ole d’vorce attorney 2 do?


October 26th, 2010
12:58 pm

Well, I hope that regardless of the outcome of this race, the answer to everyone’s question is answered in December.

So, there is only one story left to possibly break and that is Casey Cagle and the rumors surrounding his penchant for other women. I am betting nothing comes of that either.


October 26th, 2010
12:59 pm

Divorce is a CHOICE!

God hates divorce, Jesus said so.

God created “Adam and Eve!” …..NOT….”Adam and Eve then Cindy.”

Divorce is an abomination. It’s in the Bible.


October 26th, 2010
1:00 pm

Td @12:20
Well if Scott loses he would no longer be a public figure seeking office therefore the suit would be thrown out
I bet Florida beats Georgia, want to wager on that?

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

October 26th, 2010
1:04 pm

Ol’ Austin could borrow a page or two from the public relations stunts of the ‘Rev’ Jimmy Swaggart…

1. Release everything, not just the divorce, but also right down to any elementary school report cards that show less than an “A”

2. Throw a big press conference and proclaim “I have sinned against you, and I beg your forgiveness”

3. State that you will pray for your acusers

4. Walk off arm in arm with family, then have followers profess undying support for you

5. Release a statement that you are willing to meet your acuser at the White House if Obama will buy a round of beers, join in a big group hug, sing Kum Ba Yah, and nominate Obama for another Peace Prize for being so wonderful about it all.


October 26th, 2010
1:05 pm

Last man @12:41
Many conservative blogger’s here will reply to talk radio insults by insisting that liberals should start their own network, only to point out Air America failed.
So, why doesn’t someone like Rupert start a conservative newspaper here to keep the AJC honest?
He who has the gold buys the ink used in his presses…

Jayne M. Barker

October 26th, 2010
1:08 pm

This has been the best news during all of the races. Now I know why
Judge Bill Reinhardt is running for reelection without opposition.
IMO, I believe he made a fair decision. Best wishes to Scott’s family, friends and supporters…”He who is without guilt, let him/her cast the
first stone”…

Pinky Lee

October 26th, 2010
1:11 pm

Let’s see. The divorce records were sealed in 2004 and now it is an issue? Maybe maybe not, but if Scott wins, the records released, domestic violence claimed, will he resign his seat? I do not think so. Scott is young, but he is a seasoned politican and will do whatever it takes to remain in the political arena.


October 26th, 2010
1:18 pm

Where were all these inquiring minds when that idiot Newt was running for office????? Now talk about a Womanizer and someone with issues, that is your guy, and why did no one find out all of the good stuff on him during his time in office, hmmmmmmm, could it be he is a frigging Republician???????


October 26th, 2010
1:27 pm

I live in the district & get a ton of literature from Scott. Not so much from Marshall. Scott has more money I guess.

Scott’s literature tends to be a collection of cliches that have been proven over time. But here goes:

“Maintain current retirement age for Social Security.”
“Opposes privatization of Social Security.”

If he does these two things he will need to vote with House Democrats and against the House Republican leadership.

“Front-end verification to help eliminate medicare fraud.”
“Medicare must ensure access to quality physicians.”

This means increasing the authority of the Dept of HHS currently run by
Kathleen Sebelius. I am not a big supporter of increasing the authority of the central government in any way, form or matter.

And this statement which seems strangely out of place:

“We must bring federal spending under control, and start paying down our national debt.”

Maybe it is just my age showing but I am tired of listening to politicians say they would reduce spending. I have heard that for the last 30 years. And for 30 straight years spending has gone up. Republicans or Democrats, it makes no difference. Spending keeps going up.

Now this guy Scott is saying “But, hey, I am different.”

Show me!

Betty Boo

October 26th, 2010
1:28 pm

There is no “nice” divorce…however there is a minor that is being protected. What jr. high kid wants his parents dirty laundry aired all over the news! I agree with Pinky Lee, these were sealed in 2004! This is in the Democratic play book. How do you think Obama won his Senate seat? Check history folks, the Democrats are desperate!


October 26th, 2010
1:31 pm

“So, why doesn’t someone like Rupert start a conservative newspaper here to keep the AJC honest?”

Murdock bought the WSJ which, while not a local paper, contains good conservative editorials–not to mention good content about business.

Not coincidentally, their circulation has grown.

Chief Wiggum

October 26th, 2010
1:32 pm


It sure appears that the newspaper business is a real financial loser these days, so I’d guess that right-wing folks have no desire to invest in a losing proposition. So…it’s the dying AJC or nothing. That changes the subject, though, that the AJC’s political coverage is tilted far to the left. I’m sure they’d disagree, of course.

UGA 1954

October 26th, 2010
1:34 pm

If Amy Morton had been so concerned about whatever was in Austin Scott’s divorce papers, why is it that she waited until Scott became a foe to her old law professor that she has contributed money to for his campaigns? A coincidence? I don’t think so. Scott has run for re-election several times since the divorce and Amy didn’t seem the least bit interested then. This whole witch hunt was nothing but pure political dirt that would have been used to benefit her old professor. No one has to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out? Believe me, there was no domestic violence involved, I’d be willing to bet that. At some point, people need to allow even public officials to have privacy within their own homes. If they break a law, then we should know; otherwise, we don’t need to know how many times any of these candidates got a spanking as a child.

UGA 1954

October 26th, 2010
1:35 pm

@jconservative — Austin Scott will show you. Just give him a chance to do so.

Tired of BS

October 26th, 2010
1:46 pm

Good! Those records are private. It’s non of anyone’s business. Look how low the left will go to win an election. God…. nosy people.


October 26th, 2010
1:52 pm

Details of a divorce should not be public! If a crime was committed, such as domestic violence, and that was revealed during the divorce proceedings, then action should be taken by the court. Good grief what is this world coming to?


October 26th, 2010
1:54 pm

Yes newspapers have lost a lot, that’s why we’re here, on the Web. Television isn’t what it used to be either.

Yep, this is 2010. People like us all here use the internet now for most of their politics and news.

Here are the top news/political sites taken from alexa.com’s “Top 100 US Web sites.”

18. CNN
24. NY Times
33. The Huffington Post
46. Fox News
64. Wall St Journal
74. Washington Post
85. The Drudge Report
94. LA Times

As you can see the “liberal” media sites dominate the Top 100.


October 26th, 2010
2:05 pm

“Murdock bought the WSJ which, while not a local paper, contains good conservative editorials–not to mention good content about business.”

The WSJ has had a conservative editorial page since day one many years ago. Murdock has just continued the tradition of a conservative editorial page.


October 26th, 2010
2:23 pm

The one thing that is missing here is who sealed his records in the first place and what was the relationship between that judge and Scott?

I wish I knew Scott’s first wife. I would simply ask her what happened.


October 26th, 2010
2:40 pm

“Details of a divorce should not be public!”

Write to your representative. After going through a divorce I did not want, I had to spend additional time and money to have the records sealed so that the settlement agreement, which contained choice tidbits like my son’s name, age and visitation schedule, the address at which a single woman and child now lived, the year/make/model of my vehicles, etc., was not posted on the internet for everyone to view. I had to fight to protect my and my child’s private information. I don’t know much about Austin Scott, but I do know that the legislature needs to do something to protect people from this exposure….neither my child nor I chose this course of events and yet had I not been vigilent our information would be “forever” available in the public domain.


October 26th, 2010
2:42 pm

I sympathize with Nathan being broke and on the brink of bankruptcy. So am I. But I know I couldn’t focus on running on the state with creditors breathing down my neck unless I sold out big time to special interests who could help me pay off my debts. Neither can Nathan.

Travis McGee

October 26th, 2010
3:17 pm

Rather than doing the honorable thing and dropping out of the election, Nathan Deal will run, probably be elected because he’s running as a Republican, and then file for bankruptcy.

Headlines across the country: GEORGIA GUV BANKRUPT!

Some folk just don’t get it. Ignorance knows no bounds!

And, so it goes. . . .

John Galt

October 26th, 2010
3:22 pm

Why doesn’t Amy Morton and her friends just watch TV and surf the internet like everyone else looking for trash?

I have said it before but I will say it again, even public figures deserve some privacy. I go by the old tenet that unless they find a live boy or a dead girl in a man’s bed, his private life should remain private unless he makes it an issue, and Austin isn’t doing that.

Marshall must have had a religious experience, as he has just now seen the light and won’t vote for Pelosi (again). If he had voted against her all of the other times he would have some credibility with that claim. If he were to win, he will now be without authority, as a member of the minority power, or will have an office somewhere in Maryland if Pelosi is re-elected, because she won’t forget his television ads.

IMO, Marshall wouldn’t be attacking Pelosi unless he was thoroughly confident that the GOP was taking the House, which means if he cared for the 8th District, even HE would vote for the Republican.

A final word- a lot of Scott backers are poor-mouthing the Superior Court judges down here for granting the hearing in the first place. The right to a hearing was law and granting the hearing was just an administrative procedure. We have two “superior” Superior Court judges down here and there is no need to seek trouble where none exists.

John Galt

October 26th, 2010
3:27 pm

Bubba & Travis McGee-

I know a LOT of capable entrepreneurs who are being brought down by this economy. I wouldn’t let a bankruptcy disqualify a man. If you don’t realize that, you are probably slaving away for a wage instead of creating something. Those “creators” are the kind of people we need.

PS- The rape ads that Barnes is running on TV AND on this website are literally nauseating. If they were true Deal would have been drummed out of office years ago. They wreak of desperation, and Roy ought to be better than that.


October 26th, 2010
4:31 pm

The Objectivist crowd have two basic premises and one essential characteristic:

Premise One: I love having a corporate master.
Premise Two: If you don’t agree with me, you are a moocher.

Characteristic: If you ever get the chance to visit their house, it’s an absolute mess. They live like swine.


October 26th, 2010
4:38 pm

“The WSJ has had a conservative editorial page since day one many years ago. Murdock has just continued the tradition of a conservative editorial page.”

Yep, given the WSJ was founded in 1882 I’ll take your word for it. I’ve only been a subscriber for about 30 years.

Angry Maconite

October 26th, 2010
7:45 pm

Maybe Carmel Sanders should worry about her own past before opening up others to such unnecessary scrutiny.

Jayne M. Barker

October 27th, 2010
9:32 am

A good journalist tells the facts; remains objective and has transparency. When I want the latest I come to AJC. Not always the case in other areas of Georgia.

Democratic Woman

October 28th, 2010
8:59 am

Hey, I’m basically a conservative blue dog democrat (most of the time–I have my Republican moments) but….

I think divorce proceedings should be private b/w the husband wife lawyers and judge.

I personally have more to worrry about in this state and economy and educational crisis than another politician who probably cheated on his wife.

It’s none of my business. How a candidate is going to handle the chaos in this state and create jobs and bring up kids test scores is my business.

People need to stick to the issues affecting us. His divorce or why it happened does not effect me.

And I agree, it rather does seem like a vendetta since it is only surfacing now. Get over it. Divorce happens. I wish we could divorce our current government.

Jayne M. Barker

October 30th, 2010
9:03 pm

Why didn’t he talk about his own divorce instead of his opponents.
“People that live in glass houses should not throw stones.” A lot of his dirt never really came out. Good Luck Scott and also Ashford.
Be sure and vote your convictions on Tuesday, 2 Nov 10. I will.

Jayne M. Barker

November 1st, 2010
6:37 pm

I still believe there will be a runoff…For those of you that worked so
hard for your party or candidates, it’s time for us to let our defenses
rest. I have been an activist most of my adult life and I believe this
has been the hottest national election….all the way back to the Talmadge eras. Anyone remember Gene T tieing a milk cow out on the front
lawn of the Capitol. Really happened. Did you see the gold ad of
King Roy with gold crown. That one takes the cake…