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Rep. Fossella admits to affair, child

May 9, 2008 4:47:32 AM PDT
Rep. Vito Fossella has admitted fathering a 3-year-old daughter with a woman outside his marriage. "My personal failings and imperfections have caused enormous pain to the people I love and I am truly sorry," said Fossella, who has three children with his wife in Staten Island.

Fossella's private life came under scrutiny after he was arrested for drunken driving last week in suburban Washington. His blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit, and he could face a mandatory five days in jail if convicted.

When Fossella was pulled over, police said he told officers that he was going to see his daughter in the area. The woman who got him out of jail, Laura Fay, is the mother of the child.

"I have had a relationship with Laura Fay, with whom I have a 3-year-old daughter," Fossella said in a statement.

The arrest prompted questions about whether the daughter he told police he was going to see was his child with another woman.

The disclosure clouds Fossella's political future. He faced a surprisingly tough re-election challenge in 2006, and Democrats were hoping to unseat him this year.

"While I understand that there will be many questions, including those about my political future, making any political decisions right now are furthest from my mind. Over the coming weeks and months, I will to continue to do my job and I will work hard to heal the deep wounds I have caused," he said.

Fossella was elected to Congress in 1997 in a special election to replace Rep. Susan Molinari, who resigned. A graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he also earned a law degree from Fordham University.

Fossella, 43, serves as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

There was little support from leaders of his party for him to remain.

A spokeswoman for the House GOP campaign committee said only that they expect the district to continue to elect conservative-minded lawmakers. A spokeswoman for the Democratic campaign committee declined to comment.

"He's politically dead. The only thing that hasn't happened is the autopsy report hasn't been written," said Doug Muzzio, a professor of politics at Baruch College in New York. "He can say he's going to stay all he wants, but come on ..."

Fossella, 43, was elected to Congress in 1997 in a special election to replace Rep. Susan Molinari, who resigned. His socially conservative positions squared nicely with his largely Catholic district. He serves as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Fossella's work in Congress shifted dramatically following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Hundreds of Staten Island residents died in the attacks, and Fossella became a prominent advocate for families of those killed.

As more recovery and rescue workers got sick after toiling at the ground zero site, Fossella pushed for Washington to pay for their health care - an effort that has met with short-term success, but no long-term program.

The statement reads as follows:

"I have had a relationship with Laura Fay, with whom I have a three year old daughter.

"My personal failings and imperfections have caused enormous pain to the people I love and I am truly sorry.

"While I understand that there will be many questions, including those about my political future, making any political decisions right now are furthest from my mind.

"Over the coming weeks and months, I will to continue to do my job and I will work hard to heal the deep wounds I have caused."

Stay with Eyewitness News and 7online.com for additional information on this breaking story.


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