The estranged wife of former Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.), who served 12 years in Congress before retiring in January, has filed a lawsuit against his alleged mistress, claiming their adulterous relationship ruined the Pickerings’ marriage and his political career.
The Pickerings filed for divorce last year, but the case is not yet final.
Leisha Pickering says in her lawsuit that Creekmore Byrd originally “met and had a romantic relationship with [Chip] Pickering which ended prior to their college graduation.
The Pickerings were married after that, but Leisha Pickering now says that, unknown to her, “Creekmore Byrd for a number of years met and rekindled her relationship with Pickering.” Leisha Pickering charges that the adulterous relationship between her husband and Creekmore Byrd ended both their marriages.
Leisha Pickering alleges that Creekmore Byrd’s ”extramarital relationship” with Chip Pickering began again while he “was a United States Congressman prior to and while living in the well known C Street Complex in Washington, D.C.”
Chip Pickering, like Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, have lived in a Christian fellowship home on C Street. Both Ensign and Sanford have been the subjects of adultery scandals in recent weeks. Ensign had an eight-month affair with a former campaign aide, Cindy Hampton, and he resigned his leadership post after admitting to the relationship. Sanford secretly left the United States to met his Argentine mistress, setting off a national furor over his disappearance.
Leisha Pickering also charges that Creekmore Byrd secretly rented a lodge near the Pickering family while they were on a ski vacation in Colorado.
And she claims that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour offered Chip Pickering the seat of former Sen. Trent Lott in 2007 but Creekmore Byrd “insisted that if Pickering accepted the position in the Senate that their relationship would not be able to continue….” Barbour eventually named then-Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) to Lott’s seat.
Leisha Pickering separated from her husband in June 2008, and Chip Pickering began divorce proceedings against her.
Leisha Pickering is seeking unspecified damages from Creekmore Byrd.
In response to his estranged wife's lawsuit, Chip Pickering said he did not want to engage in a public fight with her over his relationship with Creekmore Byrd.
"I still believe it is in the best interest of our five boys if our differences are resolved privately and before the appropriate court and not in the media," Pickering said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.
Pickering is now a lobbyist for Cellular South, a telecom company owned by Creekmore Byrd’s family.