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Ensign’s office says Hampton made ‘exorbitant demands’

Updated Friday, June 19, 2009 | 1:41 p.m.

The Hamptons

Doug Hampton, husband of Sen. John Ensign's affair partner, Cynthia Hampton, appears in this KLAS-TV video Wednesday. The Hamptons were both employees of Ensign when the affair reportedly took place, and in a letter to Fox News, Doug Hampton blamed Ensign's Launch slideshow »

WASHINGTON -- Republican Sen. John Ensign’s office said today that the lawyer for the husband of the woman he was having an affair with has made “exorbitant demands” for cash and other financial benefits over the past month.

Ensign’s office released a brief statement this afternoon that elevates the dispute between the senator and his former staffers, Doug and Cynthia Hampton. Doug Hampton had been one of the senator's top aides, and the senator acknowledged an eight-month affair that ended in August with Cynthia Hampton, a former campaign treasurer.

“Within the past month, Doug Hampton's legal counsel made exorbitant demands for cash and other financial benefits on behalf of his client,” Ensign’s office said. "Doug Hampton’s outrageous demand was referred to Senator Ensign’s legal counsel, who is handling the matter going forward.”

The Sun was trying today to reach the Hamptons' attorney for comment.

Earlier today, Fox News acknowledged that it got a letter from Doug Hampton and was in the process of investigating it when Ensign held a news conference earlier this week to discuss his affair.

The Sun reported today that it obtained a letter that Hampton had written to Fox News dated five days before Ensign’s public confession of an extramarital affair.

A Fox News spokeswoman reached today declined to comment to the Sun regarding a letter sent to the news channel, referring the paper to an interview the show’s producer did with the Huffington Post.

Tom Lowell, senior producer of Fox’s “America’s Newsroom,” said Hampton “did reach out to us about 24 hours before the news conference, and he sent an e-mail to a booker on my staff."

Lowell told the Huffington Post that a member of his editorial staff followed up with Hampton that day.

"We followed up with him, but he seemed evasive and not credible, thus we didn't pursue it," he said. “Clearly this guy had a story to tell and we just didn't get to it before the senator got to it."

Lowell also stated emphatically that no one at Fox News alerted Ensign about the story, the Huffington Post reported.

"I know there are people asking if we alerted the senator," Lowell said. "Definitely no one on our editorial team called anyone in Senator Ensign's office prior to the announcement.”

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