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October 25, 2014

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Gibbons denies, then admits taking texting friend to D.C.

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Cathleen Allison / Nevada Appeal / File photo

Gov. Jim Gibbons demonstrates how he text messages with his thumbs in a meeting in summer 2008 with the Nevada press corps.

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Gov. Jim Gibbons acknowledged today that his friend Kathy Karrasch accompanied him to Washington, D.C., where he attended last week's National Governors Conference.

The governor initially denied taking her on the trip when confronted by KLAS-TV, Channel 8, at the Reno airport upon his return.

Gibbons, who attended the conference on the taxpayers' dime, told reporters he had paid for Karrasch's trip.

Karrasch, who was briefly in the spotlight after it was revealed she exchanged hundreds of text messages with Gibbons in 2008, accompanied the governor to a state dinner, but was not introduced as Nevada's first lady, Gibbons said.

Gibbons is divorcing First Lady Dawn Gibbons and has been accused of infidelity by his wife's attorney.

"She is just a friend," the governor told reporters. "We do not have an intimate relationship."

The governor said he was keeping a promise to take Karrasch to the conference.

Those admissions, however, followed apparent denials from Gibbons to Channel 8 that he and Karrasch had been together.

"Why are you with her?" Channel 8's Jonathan Humbert asked Gibbons as the governor was loading an SUV outside the airport.

"I'm going to give her a ride home because she lives near me," Gibbons said.

"You just happen to be on the same flight?" Humbert then asked.

"In Vegas. Yeah," was Gibbons' reply.

Gibbons and the press will square off next Monday before the Nevada Supreme Court over his refusal to release his e-mails to 10 people, including Karrasch.

A district judge supported Gibbons' claim that he may keep confidential 104 of the e-mails even though they were sent on state computers.

The e-mail correspondence decision is being appealed by the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Gibbons said during a 2008 press conference that Karrasch was a "platonic friend" and they exchanged text messages about issues like taxation and personnel management. Gibbons admitted he exchanged 867 text messages with Karrasch, including 91 between midnight and 2 a.m. on one day.

He reimbursed the state $130.05 for the text messaging.

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