On Tuesday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Sean Parnell, a Trump ally now seeking a Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2022, is asking a judge to place a gag order on his estranged wife and her attorney to prevent them from discussing former protective orders she held against him.
"A judge in the case, filed in Butler County, heard arguments on the requests Tuesday morning. Parnell, asking for a seal on the case for a second time, argued that he was trying to protect his three children from media prying and being exposed to harmful information about their parents' dispute," reported Jonathan Tamari. However, "An attorney for his wife, Laurie Parnell, said the candidate is trying to protect himself and his political ambitions. She noted that in 2019 he sought permission to use the children's photos on social media, filing a motion that cited a brand strategist's advice to do so 'in order to harness the potential of his customer base, secure new followers,' and improve sales of his books."
No information is publicly available about the circumstances that led to the protective orders being issued.
This controversy spilled into the open earlier this month, when the Inquirer reported that Parnell's main GOP primary candidate, Jeff Bartos, is targeting Parnell over the former protective orders, calling him "unelectable." Parnell has responded by calling Bartos a "pathetic liar."
"Questioning at the hearing Tuesday revealed that one Pittsburgh TV station had been preparing a story on the couple's dispute in 2020 but changed course after getting a joint statement from Sean and Laurie Parnell," said the report. "But when Bartos launched his missive this year, Laurie Parnell declined to join in a statement with Sean. Instead, lawyers for both parents accused the other of spreading false information to reporters."
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