Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, warned a woman that he would report her to the Capitol Police if she publicly disclosed that he shared sexually explicit content with her, according to a report Wednesday.
The woman showed the Washington Post a covertly recorded phone conversation between herself and Barton in 2015 where he advised her not to use the photos, videos, and messages they exchanged “in a way that would negatively affect my career.”
The woman said contact and interactions with Barton spanned over the course of five years and led to sexual encounters in Texas and Washington, D.C. She said she later learned of other women who had engaged in similar relationships with Barton and corresponded with them.
“I want your word that this ends,” he said, based on the recording. He added, “I will be completely straight with you. I am ready if I have to, I don’t want to, but I should take all this crap to the Capitol Hill Police and have them launch an investigation. And if I do that, that hurts me potentially big time.”
“Why would you even say that to me?” the woman said. “The Capitol Hill police? And what would you tell them, sir?”
“I would tell them that I had a three-year undercover relationship with you over the Internet that was heavily sexual and that I had met you twice while married and had sex with you on two different occasions and that I exchanged inappropriate photographs and videos with you that I wouldn’t like to be seen made public, that you still apparently had all of those and were in position to use them in a way that would negatively affect my career. That’s the truth,” Barton responded.
Barton said in a statement that the recording could be “evidence” of a “potential crime against me.”
The woman had warned she would share the images and messages after he ended the relationship, Barton told the Washington Post. The woman added that she was not intending to use the materials to retaliate against Barton.
Barton said he was informed Wednesday that the Capitol Police offered to launch an investigation into the situation and he has accepted.
He apologized earlier Wednesday after a nude photo had made its rounds on social media.