Columbus Rep. Calvin Smyre, facing allegations of sexual misconduct by a Fox News contributor, answered questions from the Ledger-Enquirer by email on Monday afternoon.
In a nine-Tweet string on Friday, Jehmu Greene, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic National Committee chairperson earlier this year, accused Smyre, the dean of the Georgia General Assembly, of the crime during the national convention 21 years ago.
Here are those questions and Smyre’s answers:
Do you know Jehmu Greene? If so, for how long and in what capacity?
Never miss a local story.
I do not remember meeting her at the democratic convention in 1996. We have not spoken, I have only seen her in passing at DNC functions.
Had you heard the allegations before she posted to Twitter on Friday?
The first time I heard about the allegations was from a reporter about a month ago. He called me to say that his editors had declined to publish a story because of the discrepancies with Ms. Greene’s account. I still answered his questions anyway.
Were you ever in an elevator with her? If so, when?
I don’t recall ever being in an elevator with Ms. Greene. She and I have never had any inappropriate contact of any kind.
Has she reached out to you or ever confronted you with these allegations?
Never. We have been in the same room probably three or four times, and she has never confronted me. I also saw her at DNC meetings in Atlanta several times at different events.
In your statement, you said that you “know I am not the person who inappropriately touched her. I do not doubt the sincerity of her recollection or the legitimacy of her pain.” Are you aware of the incident she is referring to?
I am not aware of the incident she referred to on Twitter. In my statement, I was trying to be balanced and avoid discrediting her or attacking her personally. She may have been inappropriately touched, it just wasn’t by me.
Do you know why Ms. Greene would make a false allegation against you?
I opposed Ms. Greene as DNC Chair, but I don’t believe that’s reason enough to hold a personal grudge. I honestly do not know why she would make this allegation. Maybe she is just mistaken about who touched her. I hold no ill will towards Ms. Greene, and I only hope that she will discontinue these allegations an move on.
How do you plan to defend yourself against the allegations?
I intend to let my statement speak for me. I have not responded on social media because it is a no-win proposition. Online, it is difficult to know what’s true or false.
Have you hired legal counsel regarding this matter?
Yes, I have engaged legal counsel as well as my personal attorney.
Is there anything else regarding this matter that you would like to say?
I’m told by reporters that Ms. Greene said “Calvin had been drinking and might have been drunk.” I have not consumed any alcohol of any kind since 1993. It is well-known by my family, friends, political colleagues in local and political circles that I do not drink.
Smyre amends answer about hearing allegations from reporter
UPDATE: After this story published, Calvin Smyre sent the Ledger-Enquirer an amendment to one of his answers.
In his response to the question “Had you heard the allegations before she posted to Twitter on Friday?” Smyre had replied, as seen in the Q&A above: “The first time I heard about the allegations was from a reporter about a month ago. He called me to say that his editors had declined to publish a story because of the discrepancies with Ms. Green’s account. I still answered his questions anyway.”
Smyre said he wanted to amend his answer to say this: “The first time I heard about the allegations was from a reporter about a month ago. After speaking with Ms. Greene, he called to interview me. As I understand it, the editors decided not to pursue a story at that time.”