Politics & Government

Sanford's Argentine mistress tells TV anchor she's 'hurt'

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Maria Belen Chapur, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's Argentine girlfriend, is feeling down and hoping that the harsh glare of the public spotlight will pass quickly.

That was the impression gained by Eduardo Feinmann, the Argentine cable television anchor from C5N who on Sunday night in Buenos Aires read an e-mail that Chapur sent him.

Feinmann first spoke with Chapur on Saturday in a call she initiated, he said in a phone interview Monday from Buenos Aires.

It was Chapur's first known contact with a journalist since the scandal became public on Wednesday.

Feinmann said he thought Chapur contacted him because they'd worked together for three months in 2001 at an Argentine television station. She was employed as an English translator but appeared on the air once from New York.

Feinmann said that Chapur told him Saturday that she hadn't left Argentina.

"She was very hurt and contemplative and worried about the effect of all of this on her friends and family," Feinmann said.

He said he'd asked Chapur to give an interview on radio or television but that she'd decided instead to send a statement via e-mail.

Feinmann said he's had no further contact with Chapur.

"She likes to keep a very low profile," Feinmann said.

Her brief statement Sunday night shed little light on the affair, which Sanford admitted to when confronted by reporters from The State, a McClatchy newspaper in Columbia, S.C. The scandal has prompted calls for his resignation.

The e-mails disclosed that Sanford had fallen in love with Chapur, a 41-year-old mother of two, despite what he called "an impossible situation."

"You are special and unique and fabulous in a whole host of ways," he wrote in one e-mail.

Sanford's wife, Jenny, said last week that she and her husband have been separated for about two weeks. Sanford hasn't said whether he broke off the relationship with Chapur.

Chapur tacitly acknowledged the relationship Sunday night by confirming the authenticity of the e-mails, but she said nothing about Sanford.

Instead, she sought to clear an unidentified male friend from suspicion that he'd sent the e-mails to the newspaper. Instead, she blamed a vengeful person whom she didn't name.

"It is not for me to judge anyone," she said. "I leave it all in the hands of God."


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