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Woman tells New York Times Herschel Walker asked her to have second abortion

<i>Meg Kinnard/AP</i><br/>The woman who said Georgia Senate hopeful Herschel Walker
Meg Kinnard/AP
The woman who said Georgia Senate hopeful Herschel Walker

By Gregory Krieg, CNN

The woman who said Georgia Senate hopeful Herschel Walker paid for her 2009 abortion, setting off a controversy that has rocked his campaign, told The New York Times that the Republican nominee asked her to terminate a second pregnancy two years later.

She refused the request, and their relationship ended, she told the Times, which said it was withholding the name of the woman. Walker was unmarried at the time. Their son, she said, is now 10 years old.

Walker, who said in May he supports a full ban on abortions, with no exceptions, has denied an earlier report from The Daily Beast, in which the woman first alleged that the former football star reimbursed her for an abortion she sought at his urging.

Speaking to the Times, the woman said she decided to come forward with new details about her relationship with Walker after his Republican allies rallied around him in the aftermath of the first report.

The Times said that interviews it conducted with the woman and documents provided to the newspaper “together corroborate and expand upon an account about her abortion first published on Monday in The Daily Beast. The Times also independently confirmed details with custody records filed in family court in New York and interviewed a friend of the woman to whom she had described the abortion and her eventual breakup with Mr. Walker as those events occurred.”

CNN has not independently confirmed the woman’s allegation about the abortion or that Walker urged her to terminate a second pregnancy.

CNN has reached out to the Walker campaign for comment. The Times left messages Friday afternoon with Walker’s spokesman and campaign manager.

Walker vehemently denied the initial report about paying for the abortion in the Daily Beast, in the “strongest possible words” and said it was a “flat-out lie.”

In comments to NBC News Friday, Herschel Walker appeared to confirm that he knows the identity of the woman who has claimed he paid for an abortion. However, he continued to deny any knowledge of the procedure.

“She has been angry at me for years and it is very difficult,” he told NBC, in what the outlet said was a brief interview.

“The first I knew about any of this was when some reporter asked me about an abortion. And I’m like, ‘No, that’s a lie.’ And then I was asked if I paid for an abortion, and I said ‘No. I did not pay for an abortion,'” Walker also told NBC. “I’m not saying she did or didn’t have one [an abortion]. I’m saying I don’t know anything about that. I don’t know.”

“I have nothing to hide. That’s why I’m talking to you,” Walker told the outlet.

The Georgia race between Walker and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is among the most competitive Senate contests on the 2022 midterm slate and could be instrumental in deciding control of the evenly divided chamber. Walker, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, won the GOP nomination in May despite some Republicans’ concerns about past allegations that he threatened women with violence. Walker has denied at least one of those allegations and has spoken publicly and written about his struggles with mental illness.

With the stakes set so high, Republican groups have vowed not to abandon Walker, even as the scandal sent his campaign scrambling. Campaign manager Scott Paradise, addressing staff earlier this week, acknowledged that the initial Daily Beast report was a setback, but pointed to Trump’s victory in 2016 — despite the initial backlash to the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which he spoke crudely about groping women — as evidence that Walker remained a viable candidate.

Warnock has mostly refused to weigh in on the allegation, dodging a question about its implications earlier this week.

“I’ll let the pundits decide how they think it will impact the race,” the senator said, before pivoting to his broader message on abortion rights. “But I have been consistent in my view that a patient’s room is too narrow and cramped a space for a woman, her doctor, and the government. … And my opponent, on the other hand, is talking about a nationwide ban with no exceptions.”

The Times, like The Daily Beast, reported that Walker gave the woman a check for $700 for the procedure, which took place at a clinic in Atlanta. According to both outlets, Walker also sent the woman a “get well” card afterward.

Earlier Friday, Walker’s campaign split from its political director, Taylor Crowe, over suspicions that he was leaking information to the media, two people familiar with the matter told CNN. Crowe did not respond to multiple requests for comment from CNN. It is unclear if there were other factors at play or if the move had any connection to the abortion allegations.

Though Walker’s campaign remains otherwise intact and his support from national Republicans has stayed in place, one of his own sons, Christian Walker, 23, a conservative social media influencer, has turned on him.

“Every family member of Herschel Walker asked him not to run for office, because we all knew (some of) his past. Every single one. He decided to give us the middle finger and air out all of his dirty laundry in public, while simultaneously lying about it,” Christian Walker tweeted shortly after the Daily Beast report was published on Monday, the first in a series of posts denouncing his father. “I’m done.”

Walker has brushed off that criticism, saying at a Thursday news conference of his adult son, “He’s a great little man. I love him to death. And you know what, I will always love him, no matter what my son says.”

Christian Walker has not responded to an email and social media messages from CNN seeking comment on his criticism of his father.

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